By Dan Molinski


U.S. crude-oil inventories unexpectedly increased last week as refinery activity dropped to the lowest since early November, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Benchmark U.S. oil prices that were higher before the mixed report was released maintained those gains afterward. The Nymex front-month crude contract for March delivery was recently up 1.8% at $87.16 a barrel.

Crude-oil stockpiles rose by 2.4 million barrels to 416.2 million barrels, and remain about 8% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude stockpiles would fall by 800,000 barrels from the prior week.

Oil stored at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for U.S. stocks, fell by 1.8 million barrels from the previous week, to 31.7 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

U.S. crude-oil production fell by 100,000 barrels a day from the previous week to 11.6 million barrels a day, according to the EIA.

Gasoline stockpiles climbed by 1.3 million barrels to 247.9 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for inventories to increase by 2.3 million barrels from the previous week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell by 2.8 million barrels to 125.2 million barrels, and are now about 17% below the five-year average, the EIA said. Analysts were forecasting distillates inventories would fall by 1.6 million barrels from the previous week.

The refining capacity utilization rate fell by 0.4 percentage points from the previous week to 87.7%, compared with analysts' forecasts for a 0.3 percentage-point decrease.

U.S. oil inventories for the week ended Jan. 21:

             Crude  Gasoline  Distillates  Refinery Use 
EIA data:    +2.4   +1.3      -2.8         -0.4 
Forecast:    -0.8   +2.3      -1.6         -0.3 

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

January 26, 2022 11:07 ET (16:07 GMT)

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