Bloomberg News

Cushing Crude Stockpiles Increase 3.8%, Satellite Survey Shows

October 14, 2011

(Run BMAP CUSH<GO> for a map of Cushing storage tanks.)

Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma, rose 3.8 percent on Oct. 12 from Oct. 5, according to data compiled by DigitalGlobe Inc.

Stockpiles held in floating-roof tanks at the hub rose 1.1 million barrels to 29.4 million, satellite images taken by the Longmont, Colorado-based company show. The Energy Department said this week that Cushing inventories, including floating and fixed tanks, totaled 30.6 million barrels as of Oct. 7.

Cushing is the physical delivery point for New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures contracts and the largest crude- trading and storage hub in the U.S. The hub has a working storage capacity of 48 million barrels, the Energy Department said May 31.

The DigitalGlobe estimate is based on images of 234 operational floating-top tanks at Cushing, the satellite company said. The number of fixed-roof tanks at the hub is 83.

Cushing’s floating-roof tanks are used mostly to store crude oil, according to Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston, who estimates that 90 percent of the storage volume in the hub is floating tanks. Fixed-roof tanks are for storing petroleum products with lower vapor pressures, such as jet fuel and distillate, he said.

Data Releases

Some fixed-roof tanks in Cushing may have been retrofitted with internal floating roofs and may be used to store crude oil, according to Lipow. Heavier crudes can also be kept in fixed- roof tanks.

DigitalGlobe data is released twice each week at 10:30 a.m. New York time on Mondays and Fridays. For the Friday release, the information is collected from the previous Saturday through Wednesday. For the Monday release, it’s from the previous Thursday or Friday.

When clouds obscure the satellite view, data is used from the last day in which there was a full collection. The highest percent of collection data will be used when cloud cover obscures images during a collection period.

--Editors: Dan Stets, Charlotte Porter

To contact the reporter on this story: Justin Doom in New York at jdoom1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net


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