U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose last week for the first time since November while gasoline inventories grew to an 11-month high, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Jan. 20.
Crude inventories rose by 515,000 barrels in the week to Jan. 14 to 413.8 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 938,000-barrel drop.
“U.S. oil inventories saw the first build in eight weeks as refinery runs dropped to 15.45 million barrels per day, their lowest since mid-November, while imports rebounded strongly,” said Matt Smith, lead oil analyst at Kpler.
Refinery crude runs fell by 120,000 bbl/d to 15.45 million bbl/d and utilization rates fell 0.3 percentage point to 88.1% of total capacity last week, the EIA said.
Net U.S. crude imports rose last week by 21,000 bbl/d, data showed.
U.S. gasoline stocks rose by 5.9 million barrels in the week to 246.6 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with expectations for a 2.6 million-barrel rise.
Inventories of the motor fuel, which tend to increase during the winter season, were now at their highest levels since February 2021.
Overall, fuel demand rose to roughly 21.2 million bbl/d over the past four weeks, bolstered by rising supply of distillates delivered by refiners. That compares favorably to two years ago prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.4 million barrels last week to 128 million barrels.
The strength in consumption has underpinned a steady rally in crude oil prices, which continued apace on Jan. 20. U.S. crude rose by 75 cents to $87.71/bbl while Brent gained 57 cents to $89.01/bbl as of 11:20 a.m. EST (1620 GMT).
Stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures fell by 1.3 million barrels in the last week, the EIA said.
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