US Commercial Oil Inventories Increase as Strategic Reserves Sold

By Dan Molinski

 

Commercial U.S. crude-oil inventories unexpectedly increased last week amid more outsized sales of crude-oil to the commercial market from the U.S. government’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Benchmark U.S. oil prices that were slightly lower before the mixed report was released held those declines afterward. The Nymex front-month crude contract for July delivery was recently down 1.1% at $117.59 a barrel.

Commercial crude-oil stockpiles rose by 2 million barrels, to 418.7 million barrels, while total U.S. crude stockpiles, including SPR, fell by 5.8 million barrels week-on-week, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted commercial crude stockpiles would fall by 1.4 million barrels from the prior week.

Oil stored at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for U.S. stocks, decreased by 826,000 barrels from the previous week, to 22.6 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

U.S. crude-oil production climbed by 100,000 barrels a day to 12 million barrels a day, the EIA said, which marks the highest production since late April 2020 just as the coronavirus began to spread.

Gasoline stockpiles declined by 710,000 barrels to 217.5 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for inventories to increase by 100,000 barrels from the previous week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, rose by 725,000 barrels to 109.7 million barrels, and remain about 23% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts were forecasting distillates inventories would rise by 800,000 barrels from the previous week.

The refining capacity utilization rate unexpectedly fell by 0.5 percentage point from the previous week, to 93.7%, which compares to analysts’ forecasts for a 0.4 percentage-point increase.

U.S. oil inventories for the week ended June 10: Crude Gasoline Distillates Refinery Use EIA data: +2.0 -0.7 +0.7 -0.5 Forecast: -1.4 +0.1 +0.8 +0.4 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

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