From December 18 through December 31, Today in Energy will feature a selection of EIA product highlights and some of our favorite articles from 2020.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Weekly Petroleum Status Report (WPSR) provides the most comprehensive weekly data available for U.S. crude oil and refined petroleum product balances.
The WPSR includes detailed regional and national supply information each week on crude oil, as well as motor gasoline, distillate fuel oil, jet fuel, residual fuel, and propane (the major petroleum products used in the United States).
Many industry observers closely follow WPSR data; significant trading in commodity markets occurs immediately after the WPSR’s release every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time (except certain weeks with holidays).
The information about inventory levels, refinery operations, and product supplied estimates are some of the most timely data series available to assess physical crude oil and petroleum product markets. Such data are particularly relevant to assessing the market impacts of mitigation efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
EIA uses WPSR estimates of product supplied as a proxy for consumption because it measures the removal of petroleum products from the primary supply chain for ultimate delivery to consumers.
Analysts should note, however, that the timing of changes in product supplied might not align with end-use consumption patterns because of variations in the timing of when producers report movement of products within the primary supply chain.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Petroleum Status Report
Because of the lag between reporting and consuming, for many WPSR data series, assessing four-week moving averages better represents recent market activity rather than focusing on a single week’s estimate.
Four-week moving averages are particularly useful for data series such as imports and exports, which affect inventory levels, can vary significantly week to week because of timing issues, and can drive estimates of product supplied.
In April, EIA also began providing a weekly estimate of U.S. crude oil storage capacity utilization as part of the WPSR release.
EIA reports the most recent crude oil storage capacity estimates for the United States in total and for each of the five Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD) regions separately. The WPSR will include this information for an indeterminate period of time to help stakeholders better assess current market conditions.
Petroleum is a major source of energy in the United States, representing 37% of total energy consumption in 2019. Petroleum and financial analysts rely on the WPSR’s extensive weekly surveys of production, inputs, imports, and inventories of crude oil and petroleum products to assess domestic petroleum supplies as the closest source of real-time information for estimating U.S. petroleum demand.
The WPSR uses six weekly surveys, reported as of the previous Friday morning, to collect data from about 1,200 respondents across the primary petroleum supply chain.
Respondents include refineries, pipelines, bulk and blending terminals, natural gas processing plants and fractionators, oxygenate producers, and importers. These respondents are a sample selected from all respondents who report to EIA monthly on similar forms for the Petroleum Supply Monthly.
Each survey form collects information on a variety of products (such as motor gasoline, distillate fuel oil, or jet fuel) and supply types, which include inputs, production, stocks, and imports.
In instances when a survey form contains data for multiple locations or spans several parts of the country (such as pipelines), volumes are available for each of the five PADDs.
Analysts review and aggregate the data across surveys to determine the overall volumes of crude oil and petroleum products by PADD and supply type.
The full report contains a considerable amount of data at both the national and regional level, which EIA will continue to assess in greater detail in the coming weeks as mitigation efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect petroleum industry operations and markets.