For only the sixth time since 1983, US crude oil inventories have risen for ten straight weeks. For those keeping track, there has only been one prior period where stockpiles increased for 11 straight weeks (September – December 2004). In today’s report from the Department of Energy, crude oil stockpiles for the latest week increased by 9.822 million barrels, which was nearly three times the expectation of 3.3 million barrels. Over the last ten weeks that crude oil inventories have risen, the total increase in stockpiles has been 76.3 million barrels, which is a record for any 10-week period, and 75% more than the prior record 10-week build of 43.9 million from 2001.
The chart below compares current crude oil stockpiles so far in 2015 to levels over the last ten years and since 1983. At current levels, inventories are not only way above average, but they are also at record highs. In fact, current stockpiles are 128 million, or 37% above the historical average. That’s a lot of crude!