Oil tanks in America’s most important crude storage hub are filling to the brim once again, quickly approaching the critical levels reached in May after prices crashed.
Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate futures, stood at 61.6 million barrels as of Nov. 13, or about 81% of capacity, according to the most recent U.S. government data. That’s 3.83 million barrels shy of the levels seen in May.
Though a repeat of the negative oil prices seen in April is unlikely, according to Bloomberg, the mounting supply glut brings home how lockdown measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic may soon force traders to store oil in every nook and cranny available, including ships and pipelines. Some are already doing that.
The reasons behind the buildup are similar to what happened before: Refineries are still coping with lackluster demand as coronavirus cases surge anew. On top of that, some of them have also been undergoing seasonal maintenance.
“Even as those facilities come back online, we are seeing excess inflows into Cushing overshadowing increased demand,” said Hillary Stevenson, a research director at Wood Mackenzie Ltd.
With states reimposing restrictions, demand for gasoline fell by half a million barrels a day last week, the biggest week-over-week decline since May, data from the Energy Information Administration shows. Read the full story.