How Would a Syrian Strike Affect U.S. Gas Prices?
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday that commercial crude oil inventories increased by 3 million barrels during the week ended August 23 to 362 million, which is near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total crude oil imports averaged about 8.4 million per day for the week, up by about 423,000 bpd compared to the previous week and above the four-week moving average of 8 million bpd, which is 723,000 bpd lower than the average for the same time last year.
All told, the data from the long-run is consistent with the idea that the United States is heading toward energy independence. Imports rose on the week, but are down on the year. Net energy imports for the January-May period were 4.364 quadrillion btu, down from 6.546 quadrillion in 2012 and 8.03 in 2011. Total U.S. production in May was 6.888 quadrillion btu, which compares against total consumption of 7.604 quadrillion btu.
This news sits against two significant backdrops. One is the surge in domestic energy production made possible by advances in drilling technology — the other is the increasingly tense geopolitical situation in Syria. The two events have played against each other, one pushing prices lower and the other pushing prices higher, and both affecting everything from global equity markets to the price of gas at the pump.