By Dan Molinski


U.S. inventories of crude oil rose three times more than expected, while gasoline stockpiles also surged higher amid shrinking demand due to coronavirus, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Benchmark U.S. oil prices, which were slightly lower before the bearish report was released, extended those declines afterward. The Nymex crude contract for May delivery was recently down 2% at $20.06 a barrel.

Crude-oil stockpiles rose by 13.8 million barrels, to 469.2 million barrels, putting them near the five-year average for this time of year, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude stockpiles would rise by 4.5 million barrels from the prior week.

Oil stored at Cushing, the delivery point for U.S. stocks, rose by 3.5 million barrels, to 42.8 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

Gasoline stockpiles jumped by 7.5 million barrels to 246.8 million barrels, while analysts were expecting them to rise by just 1.9 million barrels from the previous week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, declined by 2.2 million barrels, to 122.2 million barrels, and remain about 13% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Earlier in the week, analysts had forecast supplies would rise by 500,000 barrels from the previous week.

The refining capacity utilization rate slid by 5 percentage points from the previous week to 82.3%. Analysts had forecast a smaller, 1.4 percentage-point decline.

U.S. oil inventories for the week ended March 27: 
            Crude       Gasoline        Distillates         Use 
EIA data:   +13.8         +7.5             -2.2            -5.0 
Forecast:    +4.5         +1.9             +0.5            -1.4 
Note: Numbers in millions of barrels, with the exception of refinery use, which is in percentage points. 

Write to Dan Molinski at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 01, 2020 11:04 ET (15:04 GMT)

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