Commercial crude oil inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma (located in Petroleum Administration for Defense District, or PADD, 2) and the Gulf Coast (PADD 3) totaled a record high 309.4 million barrels as of the week ending November 27 (Figure 1). Based on the recently released storage capacity and line fill data in the September Petroleum Supply Monthly (PSM), EIA estimates 70.2% utilization of working crude oil storage capacity in Cushing, Oklahoma and PADD 3 on a combined basis. This utilization level is only slightly below the record set in the week ending April 24 of this year.

While often assessed separately, looking at the combined utilization of storage capacity in Cushing and PADD 3 is currently relevant, given the increased pipeline capacity to move crude oil from Cushing to the Gulf Coast—reflected in the recently low Brent-WTI spread—during a time of high global crude oil inventory builds. Despite relatively high crude oil inventories and crude oil storage capacity utilization, there is still more than 100 million barrels of capacity available within the two areas.