For the first time in 2015, crude oil stockpiles declined relative to the prior week for two weeks in a row. According to the Department of Energy (DoE), crude oil inventories fell by 2.191 million barrels, which was nearly 2 million more than consensus estimates. As shown in the chart below, the drawdowns in inventories that we have seen this year have come right on schedule as stockpiles have historically tended to peak in early May. Going forward, we should expect to see inventories continue dropping through the summer. However, with inventories nearly 40% above average for this time of period heading into the ‘drawdown’ season, we wouldn’t expect to see stockpiles get anywhere near their historical average in the coming months.
The chart below shows an updated look at the ten-week rolling average change for US crude oil inventories going back to 1983. After hitting a high of just under 80 million in March, the rolling increase has been more than cut in half, but amazingly still remains at what would have once been considered near record levels.