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U.S. Crude Oil Supplies Rise More Than Expected

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03/14/2018 | 04:07 pm

By Dan Molinski

U.S. inventories of crude oil increased much more than expected for the week ended March 9, while stockpiles of gasoline and other fuels declined sharply, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Crude-oil stockpiles rose by 5 million barrels to 430.9 million barrels, but are still in the lower half of the average range for this time of year, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude supplies would climb by 2.5 million barrels on the week.

Oil stored at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for U.S. stocks, increased by 338,000 barrels to 28.5 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

Gasoline stockpiles fell 6.3 million barrels to 244.8 million barrels, while analysts in the survey were expecting levels to fall by just 800,000 barrels from the previous week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, decreased by 4.4 million barrels to 133.1 million barrels and are now in the lower half of the average range, the EIA said. Earlier in the week, analysts had forecast supplies to decrease by 1.1 million barrels from the previous week.

The refining capacity utilization rate surprisingly increased by 2 percentage points from the previous week to 90%. Analysts were expecting the rate to decline by 0.2 percentage point from the previous week.

U.S. oil inventories for week ended March 9:

Crude Gasoline Distillates Refinery Use

EIA data: +5.0 -6.3 -4.4 +2.0
Forecast: +2.5 -0.8 -1.1 -0.2

Write to Dan Molinski at dan.molinsk@wsj.com

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