(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stocks fell last week while gasoline and distillate inventories rose more than anticipated, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude inventories USOILC=ECI fell 4.9 million barrels in the week to Jan. 5, compared with analysts’ expectations for a fall of 3.9 million barrels.
Oil prices dipped on the news before recovering. The decline in crude stocks fell short of industry group the American Petroleum Institute, which reported an 11 million-barrel crude draw on Tuesday evening.
In addition, refining runs fell, pulling back from a 12-year-high in capacity utilization, and stocks of gasoline and distillates like diesel rose.
However, U.S. production dropped sharply, though those figures are not considered as reliable as monthly data, which is released with a lag. U.S. production fell 290,000 barrels per day to 9.5 million bpd, the EIA said.
“There must be a special factor at play, perhaps the extreme winter weather in North Dakota, which hampered shale oil production in the Bakken,” said Carsten Fritsch, oil analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, Germany.
U.S. crude futures CLc1 were trading 22 cents to $63.19 a barrel as of 10:49 a.m. EST, while Brent LCOc1 rose 14 cents to $68.95 a barrel.
Gasoline stocks USOILG=ECI rose 4.1 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.6 million-barrel gain.
Distillate stockpiles USOILD=ECI, which include diesel and heating oil, grew 4.3 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.5 million-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.
“Refiners should be concerned with the continued increase in gasoline and distillate inventories, which will pressure refining margins,” said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.
Refinery crude runs USOICR=ECI fell 285,000 bpd as utilization rates USOIRU=ECI fell by 1.4 percentage points to 95.3 percent of total capacity, EIA data showed.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub USOICC=ECI fell by 2.4 million barrels, EIA said.
Net U.S. crude imports USOICI=ECI rose last week by 152,000 bpd.
Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Marguerita Choy