New York — U.S. crude oil inventories fell sharply last week to their lowest since October last year as imports slowed, while gasoline and distillate stockpiles also declined, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude inventories fell 10 million barrels in the week to Aug. 23, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 2.1 million barrels. At 427.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories were at the five year average for this time of year.
The decline was broadly in line with an 11 million-barrel draw reported by trade group The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday.
“It’s all in the import numbers,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.
Net U.S. crude imports fell in the week by 1.51 million barrels per day to 2.9 million bpd, while imports on the Gulf Coast region dropped by 387,000 bpd last week to their lowest on record at 1.2 million bpd, based on EIA data going back to 1990.
Crude production rose 200,000 bpd to a new weekly record at 12.5 million bpd.
Crude prices briefly extended gains immediately after the data was released. U.S. crude was up $1.38 at $56.31 a barrel by 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT). Brent was up $1.03 at $60.54 a barrel.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 1.98 million barrels to their lowest since December at 40.4 million barrels, the EIA said.
Refinery crude runs fell by 294,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates fell by 0.7 percentage point to 95.2% of total capacity.
Gasoline stocks fell by 2.1 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 388,000-barrel drop.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.1 million barrels, versus expectations for a 918,000-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.