By Dan Molinski
U.S. inventories of crude oil and transportation fuels declined sharply across-the-board last week, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.
Benchmark U.S. oil prices that were sharply higher before the report came out added to those gains afterward. The Nymex front-month crude contract for October delivery was recently up 3.6% at $72.99 a barrel.
Crude-oil stockpiles plunged by 6.4 million barrels to 417.4 million barrels, and are now about 7% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude stockpiles would fall by a smaller, 2.5 million barrels from the prior week.
Oil stored at Cushing, the delivery point for U.S. stocks, fell by 1.1 million barrels from the previous week, to 35.3 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.
U.S. crude-oil production rose by 100,000 barrels a day last week to 10.1 million barrels a day, according to EIA, as offshore production remained low after Hurricane Ida.
Gasoline stockpiles fell by 1.9 million barrels to 218.1 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for inventories to decrease by 2.3 million barrels from the previous week.
Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell by 1.7 million barrels to 131.9 million barrels, which matched analysts' expectations. Distillates inventories and are now about 13% below the five-year average, the EIA said.
The refining capacity utilization rate rose 0.2 percentage points from the previous week to 82.1% as Hurricane Ida-caused power outages kept some Louisiana refineries offline. The rise was much smaller than analysts' forecasts for a 2.4 percentage-point increase from the previous week.
U.S. oil inventories for the week ended Sep. 10:
Crude Gasoline Distillates Refinery Use EIA data: -6.4 -1.9 -1.7 +0.2 Forecast: -2.5 -2.3 -1.7 +2.4
Note: Numbers in millions of barrels, with the exception of refinery use, which is in percentage points.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires