December 9, 2015 / 3:39 PM / 4 years ago

U.S. oil stocks fall for first time since September: EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stocks fell last week, breaking a streak of 10 straight weeks of builds, while distillate inventories soared, dampening a brief rally in crude futures, data from the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.

Fuel storage tanks are seen at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery owned by The Carlyle Group in south Philadelphia March 22, 2014. REUTERS/David M. Parrott

Crude inventories USOILC=ECI fell 3.6 million barrels in the week to Dec. 4, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 252,000 barrels.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub USOICC=ECI rose 423,000 barrels, EIA said.

“It’s a big surprise draw with total combined stocks of crude oil and refined products lower on the week,” said Dominic Chirichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute in New York.

“I would call the data bullish. U.S. production is also down in the lower 48 states. Main crude oil inventory decline is in PADD 3, primarily driven by a significant decline in crude oil imports.”

Crude stocks in PADD 3, or the Gulf Coast, dropped 7.3 million barrels, the most since December 2012, likely due to inventory unloading that is typical at this time of year, as refiners work to use up crude they have on hand before the year end.

U.S. crude imports USOICI=ECI rose by 274,000 barrels per day.

Refinery crude runs USOICR=ECI fell 151,000 barrels per day as utilization rates USOIRU=ECI dropped 1.4 percentage points to 93.1 percent of total capacity, EIA data showed. The decline was more pronounced on the East Coast, where refinery utilization fell by 6.7 points.

Gasoline stocks USOILG=ECI rose 786,000 barrels, compared with forecasts for a 2.2 million-barrel gain.

Distillate stockpiles USOILD=ECI, which include diesel and heating oil, rose 5 million barrels, versus expectations for a 2.5 million-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.

The build was the sharpest since January while demand for distillates fell to its lowest level seasonally since 1998, according to the data.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 jumped more than a dollar on the crude drawdown data, but the huge build in distillates then wiped out the rally, with prices down 25 cents at $37.26 a barrel by 11:56 a.m. (1658 GMT).

Reporting By Jessica Resnick-Ault

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