June 26, 2019 / 3:07 PM / 8 months ago

U.S. crude stocks slump nearly 13 million bbls as exports hit record high: EIA

(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stocks fell by nearly 13 million barrels last week, the most in nearly three years, as exports hit a record high, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Equipment used to process carbon dioxide, crude oil and water is seen at an Occidental Petroleum Corp enhanced oil recovery project in Hobbs, New Mexico, U.S. on May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder/File Photo

Crude inventories fell 12.8 million barrels in the week ended June 21, far surpassing analyst expectations for a decrease of 2.5 million barrels. That was the most since September 2016, according to the statistical arm of the Department of Energy.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 1.7 million barrels, EIA said.

Oil prices jumped on the news, with U.S. crude futures nearly touching $60 a barrel for the first time in a month. U.S. futures were up 3.2% to $59.70 a barrel as of 10:44 a.m. EST (1444 GMT), after hitting $59.93 just after the data was released. Brent crude futures gained 2.6% to $66.76 a barrel.

“The report was solidly bullish with the extraordinary crude oil inventory drawdown of over 12 million barrels,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management in New York. “Imports of crude oil plunged, while exports rose appreciably, closing in on 4 million bpd.”

Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 1.2 million barrels per day. Overall crude exports rose to 3.8 million bpd, beating its previous record of 3.6 million bpd in February.

Refinery crude runs rose by 73,000 bpd, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 0.3 percentage points to 94.2% of total capacity.

Gasoline stocks fell by 996,000 barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 288,000-barrel gain.

U.S. gasoline futures extended earlier gains, as that contract had already been rallying on news that Philadelphia Energy Solutions was planning to close the largest U.S. East Coast refinery after a massive fire last week.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.4 million barrels, versus expectations for a 522,000-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.

Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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