August 15, 2018 / 2:37 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. crude stockpiles soar unexpectedly despite record refinery runs: EIA

FILE PHOTO: Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stockpiles jumped unexpectedly last week despite record high refinery runs, while gasoline stocks decreased and distillate inventories grew, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

“We’ve gotten hit by a wall of crude,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “This is really unheard of to have refiners running at 98 percent at this time of year and have it not impacting the crude stockpiles.”

Crude inventories rose 6.8 million barrels in the week to Aug. 10, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 2.5 million barrels.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures rose 1.64 million barrels, EIA said.

Net U.S. crude imports rose last week by 1.34 million barrels per day.

Refinery crude runs rose by 383,000 bpd to 17.98 million bpd, the highest on record, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 1.5 percentage points to 98.1 percent, the highest since 1999.

The build in crude stockpiles added to downward pressure on crude futures, which had dropped $1 a barrel prior to the report. U.S. crude futures extended losses to more than $2 after the data and was last trading at $64.85.

Gasoline stocks fell by 740,000 barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 583,000-barrel drop.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 3.6 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1 million-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.

Editing by Marguerita Choy

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