March 9 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stockpiles likely increased for a seventh week in a row, while distillate and gasoline inventories probably declined last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.
Five analysts polled by Reuters estimated, on average, that crude stocks rose by about 1.8 million barrels in the week to March 6.
“We look for crude supplies to indicate a significant increase based largely on seasonal factors associated with downsized refinery demand,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illinois, said in a note.
In the week to Feb. 28, crude inventories rose by 785,000 barrels to 444.1 million barrels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 2.6 million-barrel rise.
The poll was conducted ahead of reports from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, and the Energy Information Administration (EIA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy.
The API is scheduled to release its data for the latest week at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) on Tuesday, and the weekly EIA report is due at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Analysts estimated that stockpiles of gasoline likely decreased by 2.7 million barrels last week.
Distillate inventories, which include diesel and heating oil, were seen down 2.1 million barrels.
The rate of refinery utilization was expected to increase by 0.6 percentage point last week, from 86.9% of total capacity for the week ended Feb. 28, according to the poll.
All figures for fuel stocks in millions of barrels; refinery runs change measured in percentage points:
Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy