By Dan Molinski


U.S. inventories of crude oil unexpectedly increased last week as refinery activity steadied, according to weekly data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Benchmark U.S. oil prices that were lower before the mixed-to-bearish report came out remained lower afterward. The Nymex front-month crude contract for June delivery was recently down 1% at $61.97 a barrel.

Crude-oil stockpiles rose by 594,000 barrels, to 493 million barrels, and remain 1% above the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude stockpiles would fall by 2.4 million barrels from the prior week.

Oil stored at Cushing, the delivery point for U.S. stocks, fell by 1.3 million barrels from the previous week, to 45.4 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

U.S. crude-oil production was unchanged from the previous week at 11 million barrels a day, according to the EIA.

Gasoline stockpiles increased by 85,000 barrels to 235 millions barrels, roughly in line analysts expectations for inventories to rise by 100,000 barrels from the previous week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell by 1.1 million barrels, to 142.4 million barrels and are now 2% above the five-year average, the EIA said. Earlier in the week, analysts had forecast distillate supplies would fall by a smaller, 400,000 barrels from the previous week.

The refining capacity utilization rate was unchanged from the previous week, at 85%. Analysts were forecasting a 0.8 percentage-point increase from the previous week.

U.S. oil inventories for the week ended April 16: 
           Crude      Gasoline   Distillates    Use 
EIA data:   +0.6        +0.1        -1.1        unch 
Forecast:   -2.4        +0.1        -0.4        +0.8 
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 21, 2021 11:07 ET (15:07 GMT)

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