U.S. Oil Inventories Drop as Refinery Activity Speeds Up

U.S. inventories of crude oil fell much more than expected as refinery activity continued to accelerate, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Benchmark U.S. oil prices that were little changed before the mixed report came out turned higher afterward. The Nymex front-month crude contract for July delivery was recently up 0.5% at $72.46 a barrel.

Crude-oil stockpiles fell by 7.4 million barrels to 466.7 million barrels, and are now about 5% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude stockpiles would fall by just 2.9 million barrels from the prior week.

Oil stored at Cushing, the delivery point for U.S. stocks, fell by 2.2 million barrels from the previous week, to 43.6 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

U.S. crude-oil production rose by 200,000 barrels a day from the previous week to 11.2 million barrels a day, according to the EIA.

Gasoline stockpiles unexpectedly rose by 2 million barrels to 243 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for inventories to fall by 800,000 barrels from the previous week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell by 1 million barrels to 136.2 million barrels and are now about 6% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Earlier in the week, analysts had forecast distillate supplies would rise by 100,000 barrels from the previous week.

The refining capacity utilization rate jumped by 1.3 percentage points from the previous week to 92.6%, compared with analysts' forecasts for a slight 0.2 percentage-point increase from the previous week.

U.S. oil inventories for the week ended June 11:
          Crude  Gasoline  Distillates  Refinery Use
EIA data: -7.4   +2.0     -1.0          +1.3
Forecast: -2.9   -0.8     +0.1          +0.2

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
  06-16-21 1104ET
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