By Dan Molinski

U.S. crude-oil inventories declined slightly last week but stockpiles of gasoline and other fuels rose sharply, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Benchmark U.S. oil prices that were slightly lower before the mixed report was released turned slightly higher afterward. The Nymex front-month crude contract for January delivery was recently up 0.1% at $72.09 a barrel.

Crude-oil stockpiles fell by 241,000 barrels to 432.9 million barrels, and are now about 7% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude stockpiles would fall by a larger, 1.3 million barrels from the prior week.

Oil stored at Cushing, the delivery point for U.S. stocks, jumped by 2.4 million barrels from the previous week, to 30.9 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

U.S. crude-oil production increased by 100,000 barrels a day to 11.7 million barrels a day, the highest since May 2020, according to EIA.

Gasoline stockpiles jumped by 3.9 million barrels to 219.3 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for inventories to increase by 1.7 million barrels from the previous week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, rose by 2.7 million barrels to 126.6 million barrels, and are now about 7% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts were forecasting distillates inventories would rise by 1.2 million barrels from the previous week.

The refining capacity utilization rate rose by 1 percentage point from the previous week to 89.8%, compared with analysts' forecasts for a 0.5 percentage point increase.

U.S. oil inventories for the week ended Dec. 3:

             Crude  Gasoline  Distillates  Refinery Use 
EIA data:    -0.2   +3.9      +2.7         +1.0 
Forecast:    -1.3   +1.7      +1.2         +0.5 

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

December 08, 2021 11:08 ET (16:08 GMT)

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