By Paulo Trevisani
U.S. oil inventories recorded a decline last week, providing further support to the already increasing crude prices. According to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday, commercial crude-oil stockpiles fell by 4.5 million barrels to 419.7 million barrels. This represents a decrease of approximately 5% compared to the five-year average. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted a rise of 400,000 barrels in crude stockpiles from the previous week.
Additionally, oil stored at Cushing, Oklahoma, which serves as the delivery point for U.S. stocks, decreased by 758,000 barrels to reach 21 million barrels. Despite the decline in inventories, U.S. crude-oil production remained stable at the weekly record high of 13.2 million barrels per day. This level was achieved the previous week, surpassing the previous peak of 13.1 million barrels per day set in March 2020 during the onset of the pandemic.
Gasoline stockpiles also experienced a significant decline, decreasing by 2.4 million barrels to reach 223.3 million barrels. This decrease exceeded analysts' expectations of a much smaller 600,000-barrel decrease. The EIA reported that distillate stocks, mainly consisting of diesel fuel, decreased by 3.2 million barrels, reaching 113.8 million barrels. Analysts had forecasted a decline of 1.2 million barrels in distillates inventories for the week.
Moreover, the refining capacity utilization rate increased by 0.4 percentage points from the previous week to reach 86.1%. This increase exceeded expectations for a minor 0.1-percentage-point decrease.
U.S. Oil Inventories for the Week Ended Oct. 13:
- Crude: -4.5 million barrels
- Gasoline: -2.4 million barrels
- Distillates: -3.2 million barrels
- Refinery Use: +0.4 percentage points
Note: Numbers are in millions of barrels, except for refinery use, which is reported in percentage points.
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