U.S. Oil Inventories Fall as Refiners Ramp Up

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by Dan Molinsky

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US crude-oil inventories fell more than expected last week as US refinery activity hit its highest level since 2019, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Benchmark US oil prices that were higher prior to the release of the mixed-to-bullish report later held on to those gains. The Nymex front-month crude contract for July delivery was recently up 0.6% at $110.45 a barrel.

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Crude oil reserves fell 1 million barrels to 419.8 million barrels, the EIA said, and are down about 14% from the five-year average. Analysts polled by the Wall Street Journal predicted crude reserves would drop by 600,000 barrels over the past week.

Oil stored in Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for US stocks, declined 1.1 million barrels from the previous week to 24.8 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

According to the EIA, US crude oil production remained unchanged from the previous week at 11.9 million barrels per day.

Gasoline reserves fell 482,000 barrels to 219.7 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 1.2 million barrel decrease in inventory compared to the previous week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, rose 1.7 million barrels to 106.9 million barrels, and are now down about 21% from the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts were predicting distillate inventories would increase by just 200,000 barrels compared to the previous week.

The refining capacity utilization rate rose 1.4 percentage points from last week to 93.2%, the highest since the end of December 2019, and accounts for a 0.7 percentage-point smaller increase than analysts’ forecasts.

U.S. oil inventories for the week ended May 20: Crude Gasoline Distillates Refinery Use EIA data: -1.0 -0.5 +1.7 +1.4 Forecast: -0.6 -1.2 +0.2 +0.7

Note: Excluding refinery use, which is in percentage points, the number is in millions of barrels.

Write to Dan Molinski at [email protected]

Credit: www.marketwatch.com /

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