It will likely take months, not weeks, to return inventories to normal levels – EIA

This is likely to be the last Iraqi crude oil imported to the United States until at least a month following the resumption of Iraqi oil exports.

At the time of this report, it is still very unclear when Iraqi oil exports will be resumed. However, crude oil imports still averaged above 10 million barrels per day during the week ending May 16, even with hardly any Iraqi imports, mainly due to very large volumes arriving from Saudi Arabia.

While imports from Saudi Arabia since the end of March do appear (looking at weekly data) to have increased somewhat over the amount imported earlier in the year, the amount imported last week from Saudi Arabia appears to exceed the large volumes imported in recent weeks. With Iraqi crude oil imports likely out of the picture for a while, increased imports from other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, will be needed to maintain imports at the 10 million barrels per day level that will probably be required to keep inventories increasing. However, as stated above, even with crude oil imports averaging 10 million barrels per day, it will probably take months, not weeks, to return inventories to normal levels.

The development of US crude oil imports, stocks and production since 1983 can be viewed here.

Contact: Erik Ranheim