U.S. crude oil stocks fell more than expected last week, while gasoline and distillate inventories rose more than forecast, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Jan. 16.
Crude inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels in the week to Jan. 11, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 1.3 million barrels.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla., delivery hub fell by 743,000 barrels, EIA said. On the U.S. East Coast, crude inventories fell to the lowest level since October 2014.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for February delivery fell 52 cents to $51.59 a barrel by 10:13 a.m. CST (16:13 GMT). Brent crude futures for March delivery fell 29 cents to $60.35 a barrel.
"Any bullish sentiment from the crude draw has been vanquished by emphatic builds to the products—particularly with gasoline, lifting inventories some 6% above the five-year average," said Matthew Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData in Louisville, Ky.
Refinery crude runs fell by 343,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates fell by 1.5 percentage points.
Gasoline stocks rose by 7.5 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.8 million-barrel gain. U.S. gasoline inventories rose to 255.6 million barrels, the highest weekly level since February 2017, EIA data shows. On the Gulf Coast, gasoline inventories rose to 90.96 million barrels, hitting fresh record highs for the third consecutive week, EIA data shows.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 3 million barrels, vs. expectations for a 1.6 million-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.
"The continued strong rise in oil product stocks is bearish and overshadows the draw in crude oil stocks," said Carsten Fritsch, senior commodities analyst at Commerzbank.
Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 1.22 million bbl/d.
U.S. crude production rose in the week, climbing about 200,000 bbl/d to a new record of 11.9 million bbl/d.
Waha Hub spot prices tumble to -$3.38/MMBtu, setting a record for the spread to Henry Hub.
Refiners insist they will continue to import from the U.S. assuming the price is competitive.
Stranded gas in the Permian Basin crushes Waha spot prices to around 12 cents/MMBtu.