June 6, 2018 / 2:40 PM / 4 months ago

U.S. crude stocks unexpectedly build despite high refining rates: EIA

(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose unexpectedly last week even as refineries hiked output to the highest in five months, while gasoline stocks increased sharply as demand eased, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Pipelines run to Enbridge Inc.'s crude oil storage tanks at their tank farm in Cushing, Oklahoma, U.S., March 24, 2016. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

Crude inventories rose by 2.1 million barrels in the week to June 1, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 1.8 million barrels.

The bulk of that build was due to a sharp increase in stocks on the West Coast, where inventories jumped 2.5 million barrels the EIA said.

Oil prices fell on the data. U.S. crude futures dropped $1.19 to $64.34 a barrel, while Brent crude fell 81 cents to $74.56 a barrel as of 10:51 a.m. EDT (1451 GMT). The spread between U.S. crude and Brent widened by about 4 percent to more than $10 a barrel.

Refining crude runs and rates hit their highest levels since late December as facilities came back online after periods of maintenance. Refinery crude runs rose 214,000 barrels per day to 17.4 million bpd and utilization rates rose by 1.5 percentage points to 95.4 percent of available capacity, EIA data showed.

Gasoline stocks rose by 4.6 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 587,000-barrel gain.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 2.2 million barrels, versus expectations for a 784,000-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.

Net U.S. crude imports rose last week by 1.2 million bpd.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 955,000 barrels, the EIA said.

Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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