U.S. Oil Inventories Rise as Fuel Supplies Decline

U.S. inventories of crude oil rose slightly last week but supplies of gasoline and other fuels declined, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Benchmark U.S. oil prices, which were sharply lower before the mixed-to-bearish data were released, extended those declines slightly afterward. The Nymex front-month crude contract for November delivery was recently down 3% at $39.45 a barrel.

Crude-oil stockpiles rose by 501,000 barrels to 492.9 million barrels. Inventories are now about 12% above the five- year average, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude stockpiles would fall by 100,000 barrels from the prior week.

U.S. crude-oil production rose by 300,000 barrels a day from the previous week to 11 million barrels a day, according to the EIA.

Oil stored at Cushing, the delivery point for U.S. stocks, rose by 470,000 barrels to 56.5 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

Gasoline stockpiles fell by 1.4 million barrels to 226.7 million barrels, compared with analysts expectations for a 100,000-barrel decline.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, dropped by 962,000 barrels to 171.8 million barrels, and are now about 23% above the five-year average, the EIA said. Earlier in the week, analysts had forecast distillate supplies would fall by 1.1 million barrels from the previous week.

The refining capacity utilization rate surprisingly rose by 1.3 percentage points from the previous week to 77.1%. The increase compared with forecasts for a 0.1 percentage-point decline.

U.S. oil inventories for the week ended Oct. 2:

         Crude   Gasoline Distillates Refinery Use
EIA data: +0.5   -1.4     -1.0        +1.3
Forecast: -0.1   -0.1     -1.1        -0.1

Note: Numbers in millions of barrels, with the exception of refinery use, which is in percentage points.

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

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  10-07-20 1106ET
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