NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell more than expected last week as imports declined and refinery runs held close to record highs, while gasoline and distillate inventories rose, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude futures extended gains after the report, with global benchmark Brent crude up $1.65 at $74.28 a barrel by 10:46 a.m. EDT, and U.S. crude $1.53 higher at $67.38 a barrel.
“The report was supportive due to the large drop in crude oil inventories, which occurred due to high demand from refiners,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management in New York. A significant drop in crude oil imports after a spike higher last week also supported prices, he said.
Crude inventories fell 5.8 million barrels in the week to Aug. 17, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 1.5 million barrels.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures rose by 772,000 barrels, EIA said.
Net crude imports fell last week by 1.1 million barrels per day.
Refinery crude runs slipped 89,000 bpd from the previous week’s record high to 17.9 million bpd, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates remained unchanged at 98.1 percent of total capacity, the highest rates since 1999.
Gasoline stocks rose 1.2 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 488,000-barrel drop.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.8 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.5 million barrels increase, the EIA data showed.
U.S. crude production rose 100,000 bpd to 11 million bpd last week, according to the data.
Reporting by U.S. Energy Desk; Editing by Marguerita Choy