U.S. crude stockpiles soar, products draw down again: EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stockpiles soared last week amid higher imports and a release from national reserves, while gasoline and distillate inventories extended their declines even as refiners ramped up production, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Pump jacks operate at sunset in Midland, Texas, U.S. February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

Crude inventories, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), rose 5.7 million barrels in the week to Oct. 25, the EIA said, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 494,000-barrel build and a 708,000-barrel decline reported by industry group the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday.

Inventories of crude in the SPR dropped 698,000 barrels last week, as part of the Department of Energy’s offer of 10 million barrels of sour crude from the SPR for delivery between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30. The offer is part of a sale mandated by previous laws to raise funds to modernize the facility. [nL2N25H0O4]

Net U.S. crude imports rose last week by 1.2 million barrels per day.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures rose for a fourth straight week, gaining 1.6 million barrels last week, the EIA said.

Oil prices extended losses after the data were released, with U.S. crude futures down 61 cents a barrel to $54.94 a barrel by 11:00 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT).

“A strong rebound in Canadian imports and another SPR release has encouraged a build to crude inventories,” said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at Clipper Data. “Tempering the bearish influence of the solid crude build are draws to both distillates and gasoline amid a tick higher in implied demand.”

Refinery crude runs rose by 133,000 bpd, as utilization rates rose by 2.5 percentage points to 87.7% of total capacity, EIA data showed.

Gasoline stocks fell by 3 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.2 million-barrel drop. The fifth weekly drop brought stocks down to 220.1 million barrels, their lowest since Nov. 2017.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, declined for a sixth week in a row, falling 1 million barrels last week, versus expectations for a 2.4 million-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.

Editing by Marguerita Choy