U.S. crude stockpiles drop unexpectedly, diesel builds: EIA

(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stockpiles unexpectedly fell last week despite rising production, while distillate inventories were up once again, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Drilling rigs operate at sunset in Midland, Texas U.S. February 13, 2019. Picture taken February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

Crude inventories fell to their lowest since April at 496 million barrels in the week to Sept. 11, sliding 4.4 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.3 million-barrel rise.

Production rose for a second consecutive week, jumping 900,000 barrels per day of crude last week, to 10.9 million bpd, the data showed.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 3.5 million barrels last week to 179.3 million barrels, versus expectations for a 600,000-barrel rise, the EIA data showed.

“It was a bearish report, particularly as we continue to stare down demand issues,” said John Kilduff, Partner at Again Capital in New York. “The dropoff in diesel demand is disturbing because truck demand had been a bright spot.”

U.S. gasoline stocks fell 400,000 barrels to 231.5 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 160,000-barrel drop.

U.S. crude futures pared gains after the data, and gasoline and diesel futures also pulled back. West Texas Intermediate crude futures traded up $1.29 to $39.58 a barrel by 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), after earlier rising to a session high of $39.71 a barrel.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for WTI fell by 74,000 barrels, EIA said.

Refinery crude runs rose by 709,000 bpd in the last week, EIA said. Refinery utilization rates rose by 4 percentage points, in the week.

Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 66,000 bpd, the EIA said.

Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Marguerita Choy