by Dan Molinsky
US crude inventories rose unexpectedly last week, but gasoline and other fuel supplies declined, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.
Benchmark US oil prices, which were almost unchanged prior to the release of the mixed report, remained the same afterwards. The Nymex front-month crude contract for January delivery was recently down a modest 0.1% at $78.41 a barrel.
Crude oil reserves rose 1 million barrels to 434 million barrels, the EIA said, and are down about 7% from the five-year average. Analysts polled by the Wall Street Journal predicted crude reserves would drop by 800,000 barrels over the past week.
Oil stored in Cushing, the delivery point for US stocks, rose 787,000 barrels to 27.4 million barrels from the previous week, the EIA said in its weekly report.
According to the EIA, US crude oil production rose by 100,000 barrels per day to 11.5 million barrels per day.
Gasoline reserves fell 603,000 barrels to 211.4 million barrels, compared to analysts’ expectations for a 500,000 barrel drop from the previous week.
Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell 2 million barrels to 121.7 million barrels, and are now down about 8% from the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts had forecast a drop of 700,000 barrels from the previous week.
The refining capacity utilization rate rose 0.7 percentage points to 88.6% from the previous week, compared to a 0.6 percent increase in analysts’ forecasts.
US oil inventories for the week ending November 19:
Crude Gasoline Distillates Refinery Use EIA data: +1.0 -0.6 -2.0 +0.7 Forecast: -0.8 -0.5 -0.7 +0.6
Note: Excluding refinery use, which is in percentage points, the number is in millions of barrels.
Write to Dan Molinski at [email protected]