(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose unexpectedly last week as refineries trimmed production heading into the less active autumn season, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude inventories rose by 2.4 million barrels in the week to Sept. 20, compared with analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a 249,000-barrel decline. Overall inventories fell to 419.5 million barrels.
After 11 straight weeks of drawdowns, stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures rose 2.3 million barrels, the EIA said.
“The report was bearish due to the overall rise in crude oil inventories and the large rise at the Cushing delivery hub. The slight rise in domestic production was also bearish, if not notable, as the rig count has been on the decline,” said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital in New York.
Crude production rose by 100,000 barrels per day, back to its record weekly rate at 12.5 million bpd hit a month ago, though EIA weekly figures on output are generally revised.
Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 480,000 bpd.
Oil prices rose modestly after the report, though remained lower on the day due to ongoing concerns about global growth and the swift restoration of production by Saudi Aramco after attacks two weeks ago damaged its facilities.
U.S. crude futures fell $1.19, or 2%, to $56.10 a barrel, as of 10:54 a.m. ET (1454 GMT). Brent crude dropped $1.30 to $61.81 a barrel.
Refinery utilization rates fell 1.4 percentage points to 89.8% of total capacity, the lowest since May, and refinery crude runs dropped by 194,000 bpd, EIA data showed.
Gasoline stocks rose by 519,000 barrels, compared with expectations for a 296,000-barrel increase.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 3 million barrels, versus expectations for a decline of 733,000 barrels, the data showed.
Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Marguerita Choy