October 2, 2019 / 2:57 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. crude stockpiles build as refineries cut back runs

(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose last week as refineries reduced output amid seasonal maintenance, while gasoline stocks decreased and distillate inventories fell, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories rose by 3.1 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 27, compared with analyst expectations for an increase of 1.6 million barrels.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures fell by 201,000 barrels, EIA said.

Refinery activity slowed for a third week with utilization rates dropping 3.4 percentage points last week to 86.4% of overall capacity, lowest seasonally since 2017. Refinery crude runs fell by 496,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed.

Oil prices fell after the data, but analysts attributed the declines, in part, to ongoing concerns about global growth, particularly after a weak figure on manufacturing data out of the United States on Tuesday.

“I think you’re continuing to get signs that demand growth is the primary drag on the market, with the disappointing manufacturing number that came out yesterday,” said Gene McGillian, vice president of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

U.S. crude futures lost 95 cents to $52.68 a barrel as of 10:50 a.m. ET (1450 GMT), while Brent dropped $1.01 to $57.89 a barrel. [O/R]

Gasoline stocks fell by 228,000 barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 449,000-barrel gain.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.4 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.8 million-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.

Net U.S. crude imports rose last week by 29,000 bpd and domestic crude production fell 100,000 bpd from its record high to 12.4 million bpd.

Reporting By David Gaffen; additional reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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