On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration reported the US crude stockpiles fell 2.3 million barrels in the week ending July 15.
US crude stockpiles fall, US crude oil futures turn positive
NEW YORK, July 20 (Reuters) – US crude stockpiles fell for the ninth consecutive week and gasoline stockpiles posted a surprise build last week, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.
Crude inventories fell 2.3 million barrels in the week ending July 15, data from the statistical arm of the Energy Department showed, largely in line with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 2.1 million barrels. But at 519.5 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are at historically high levels for this time of year, the EIA said.
Gasoline stocks rose 911,000 barrels after forecasts of them remaining unchanged, and are well above the upper limit of the average range, the EIA said. July is seen as the peak of a summer when Americans were expected to take to the road at record rates. Stocks of the motor fuel rose in spite of gasoline output slipping 168,000 barrels per day and refinery crude runs rising 319,000 b/d as utilization rates edged up 0.9 percentage points to 93.2 percent of total capacity, the EIA data showed.
“While in-line with expectations, the drawdown is large enough to provide support, and refiner demand for crude remains elevated. The refinery production rate is more than meeting that gasoline demand, however,” said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital “The inventory overhang of crude oil and gasoline remains a significant limiting factor for prices.”
U.S. crude oil futures turned positive after the data, trading 0.4 percent higher on the day at $44.82 per barrel by 11:12 a.m. EST (1512 GMT). U.S. gasoline futures briefly extended losses to hit a four-month low after the surprise build. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell 214,000 million barrels, versus forecasts of a 600,000-barrels rise.
U.S. crude imports rose by 293,000 b/d. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. futures rose by 189,000 barrels, EIA said.
(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy)