Lower Oil Inventories & Refining Capacity Drive Home (VLO, OIH, USO)

The Department of Energy is out with its weekly oil data and the data is showing a larger draw-down that what API had signaled yesterday.  Crude oil inventories fell by 4.729 million barrels to 332.899 million barrels.  Dow Jones was expecting a build of more than 1 million barrels.

Gasoline inventories fell by 3.324 million barrels to 206.271 million barrels, worse than the drop of 1.7 million expected by Dow JOnes.  Distillates fell by 4.266 million barrels to 149.739 million barrels, also worse than the 1.7 million draw expected by Dow Jones.

The other issue to consider is a lower refining capacity.  Refineries in the last week were shown to be at 83.1%.  While some slowing is routine, this is down from 84.2% a week earlier and worse than the 83.8% expected by Dow Jones.

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE: VLO), the king of independent refineries, is now up 1.3% at $23.70 and is challenging 5-day highs.  Oil Services HOLDRs (NYSE: OIH) is up 0.7% at $121.95, also challenging 5-day highs.

The United States Oil (NYSE: USO) Fund is up 0.9% at $34.47, above yesterday’s high of $34.45 and back at the highest levels since September 16.  WTI is up $0.80 at $89.14 on last look.