U.S. crude oil stockpiles unexpectedly edged higher last week, while distillate inventories felland gasoline stocks built modestlyas refining rates held steady, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude inventories (USOILC=ECI) rose by 594,000 barrels in the week to April 16 to 493 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 3 million-barrel drop. East Coast inventories, however, fell to record low at 7.9 million barrels
Refinery utilization rates (USOIRU=ECI) were unchanged at 85% of overall capacity, but Gulf Coast refiners boosted capacity to their highest levels since March 2020, as demand for fuel improves.
Analysts generally characterized the report as mildly disappointing due to the unexpected build in crude stocks. Gasoline product supplied rose slightly, while jet fuel supplied dipped.
“If there was any disappointment, there was an expectation that they (refiners) were going to kick into a higher gear. But based on the gasoline number, one would expect that refinery runs should improve in the coming weeks,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group.
U.S. oil futures were lower on the day, though little changed after the report. U.S. crude was down 52 cents to $62.16 a barrel as of 10:44 a.m. EDT (1544 GMT), while Brent fell 44 cents to $66.13 a barrel. RBOB gasoline futures were off by 0.4%.
U.S. gasoline stocks (USOILG=ECI) rose by 86,000 barrels in the week to 235 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 464,000 million-barrel rise.
Distillate stockpiles (USOILD=ECI), which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.1 million barrels to 142.4 million barrels, versus expectations for a 956,000-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.
Net U.S. crude imports (USOICI=ECI) fell last week by 416,000 barrels per day, EIA said.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub (USOICC=ECI) fell by 1.3 million barrels in the last week, EIA said.