By Dan Molinski
U.S. inventories of crude oil unexpectedly rose last week, while stockpiles of gasoline also increased, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.
Benchmark U.S. oil prices, which were lower before the data was released, extended those declines after the report. The Nymex crude contract for July delivery was recently down 2.2% at $52.11 a barrel.
Crude-oil stockpiles unexpectedly rose 2.2 million barrels to 485.5 million barrels, a nearly 23-month high, and are now 8% above the five-year average for this time of year, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude stockpiles would fall by 600,000 barrels from the prior week.
Oil stored at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for U.S. stocks, rose by 2.1 million barrels to 52.9 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.
Gasoline stockpiles increased by 764,000 barrels to 234.9 million barrels, while analysts in the survey were expecting levels to rise by 500,000 barrels from the previous week.
Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel unexpectedly fell by 1 million barrels to 128.4 million barrels, and are now about 4% below the five-year average for this time of year, the EIA said. Earlier in the week, analysts had forecast supplies would increase by 1 million barrels from the previous week.
The refining capacity utilization rate jumped by 1.4 percentage points from the previous week to 93.2%, while analysts were expecting a rise of just 0.4 percentage point.
U.S. oil inventories for week ended June 7:
Crude Gasoline Distillates Refinery Use
EIA data: +2.2 +0.8 -1.0 +1.4
Forecast: -0.6 +0.5 +1.0 +0.4
Note: Numbers in millions of barrels, with the exception of refinery use, which is in percentage points.
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