By Dan Molinski


U.S. inventories of crude oil unexpectedly climbed sharply last week despite an uptick in refinery activity, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Benchmark U.S. oil prices that were sharply lower before the report came out remained lower afterward. The Nymex front-month crude contract for September delivery was recently down 2.2% at $69.02 a barrel.

Crude-oil stockpiles rose by 3.6 million barrels to 439.2 million barrels, and are now about 6% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude stockpiles would fall by 2.7 million barrels from the prior week.

Oil stored at Cushing, the delivery point for U.S. stocks, fell by 543,000 barrels from the previous week, to 34.9 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

U.S. crude-oil production remained flat from the previous week at 11.2 million barrels a day, according to the EIA.

Gasoline stockpiles dropped by 5.3 million barrels to 228.9 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for inventories to decrease by just 1.6 million barrels from the previous week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, rose by 832,000 barrels to 138.7 million barrels and are now about 6% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Earlier in the week, analysts had forecast distillate supplies would fall by 500,000 barrels from the previous week.

The refining capacity utilization rate rose by 0.2 percentage point from the previous week to 91.3%, compared with analysts' forecasts for a 0.4 percentage-point increase from the previous week.


U.S. oil inventories for the week ended July 30:

              Crude    Gasoline    Distillates    Refinery Use 
   EIA data:  +3.6      -5.3          +0.8          +0.2 
   Forecast:  -2.7      -1.6          -0.5          +0.4 

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

August 04, 2021 11:10 ET (15:10 GMT)

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