By Dan Molinski

U.S. crude-oil inventories surprisingly fell last week, while gasoline and diesel fuels also declined, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Benchmark U.S. oil prices that were slightly lower before the mostly bullish report erased those declines afterward. The Nymex front-month crude contract for November delivery was recently 0.3% higher at $83.21 a barrel.

Crude-oil stockpiles fell by 431,000 barrels to 426.5 million barrels, and remain about 6% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude stockpiles would rise by 700,000 barrels from the prior week.

Oil stored at Cushing, the delivery point for U.S. stocks, fell by 2.3 million barrels from the previous week, to 31.2 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

U.S. crude-oil production fell by 100,000 barrels a day last week to 11.3 million barrels a day, according to EIA.

Gasoline stockpiles dropped by 5.4 million barrels to 217.7 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for inventories to decrease by 1.1 million barrels from the previous week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell by 3.9 million barrels to 125.4 million barrels, and are now about 10% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts were forecasting a 900,000-barrel decline from the previous week.

The refining capacity utilization rate dropped by a larger-than-expected 2 percentage points from the previous week to 84.7%, compared with analysts' forecasts for just a 0.2 percentage point decline.

U.S. oil inventories for the week ended Oct. 15:

             Crude  Gasoline  Distillates  Refinery Use 
EIA data:   -0.4   -5.4      -3.9         -2.0 
Forecast:   +0.7   -1.1      -0.9         -0.2 

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

October 20, 2021 11:06 ET (15:06 GMT)

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