Oil prices stabilized today after the Energy Information Administration reported a crude oil inventory draw of 2 million barrels for the week to September 25.

At 492.4 million barrels, inventories are still above the five-year average for the season, the EIA said. Analysts had expected a build of 1.4 million barrels.

The EIA also reported an increase in gasoline stocks a day after the API depressed the market, with an estimated 2.325-million build in gasoline inventories.

According to the EIA, gasoline inventories shed 700,000 barrels last week, which came after a draw of 4 million barrels estimated for the previous week. Gasoline production in the week to September 25 averaged 8.9 million bpd. This compares with an average of 9.3 million bpd a week earlier.

In distillate fuels, the EIA reported an inventory decline of 3.2 million barrels. Distillates have been a major headache for refiners due to subdued demand. Total inventories are now close to 180 million barrels—almost a record high—and refiners don’t really have an incentive to increase production. Last week, they produced an average of 4.4 million bpd of distillates. This compares with 4.5 million bpd, also an increase on the previous week.

Refineries processed some 13.7 million bpd of crude oil last week, compared with 13.4 million bpd a week earlier.

Meanwhile, Total has become the latest industry major to cast a shadow over hopes for oil demand recovery. In its Energy Outlook, the French supermajor said that while it projected growth in global energy demand, this did not apply to oil demand, which would plateau by 2030.

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This added to more pandemic-induced fears as infections continued to rise in number in many key oil markets, including the United States and India, but also in a good chunk of Europe.

At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading at $40.76 a barrel with West Texas Intermediate at $39.54 a barrel.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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