April 25, 2018 / 2:35 PM / a month ago

U.S. oil stocks build unexpectedly despite record high exports -EIA

(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories unexpectedly rose last week even as exports hit record highs, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday in an overall bearish report that raised some concerns about oversupply.

Crude inventories rose 2.2 million barrels in the week to April 20, compared with expectations for a decrease of 2 million barrels. Gasoline stocks grew by 840,000 barrels, versus forecasts in a Reuters poll for a 625,000-barrel drop.

Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 43,000 barrels per day as exports rose nearly 600,000 bpd to a record 2.3 million bpd, according to the EIA data.

Combined exports of crude and petroleum products also hit a weekly record at 8.3 million bpd, of which more than 6 million bpd was from products like gasoline and diesel fuel. Exports of distillate inventories have been strong of late, draining inventories on the East Coast, a traditional parking spot for distillates like jet fuel.

“The builds in crude oil and gasoline inventories are obviously negative, but soaring crude oil and gasoline exports cut against those data points,” said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital LLC in New York.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures rose by 459,000 barrels, EIA said.

After initial losses on the release of the data, U.S. crude futures rebounded and pared losses, trading down 4 cents at $67.66 a barrel by 10:57 a.m. EDT (1457 GMT). Brent was off 35 cents to $73.50 a barrel.

Refinery crude runs fell by 328,000 bpd and utilization rates fell by 1.6 percentage points to 90.8 percent of total capacity, EIA data showed.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.6 million barrels, versus expectations for a 861,000-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.

Overall U.S. crude production continued to grow, rising last week to 10.59 million bpd - though the weekly figures are less reliable than monthly data that, as of February, still had the United States producing a shade under 10 million bpd.

“U.S. production is going to continue to rise throughout the rest of the year. And also I think OPEC is close to done with their cuts,” said Phillip Streible, analyst at RJO Futures in Chicago, who said oil could test $65 a barrel in the near-future.

Reporting By David Gaffen; additional reporting by Scott DiSavino and Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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