The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released its weekly crude oil inventory report, showing an increase of 2.1 million barrels last week, sending oil prices down by over a dollar.
On the inventory news, the price per barrel of US benchmark WTI dropped to $30.52 and Brent crude dropped to $34.52.
Total U.S. commercial crude inventory is now at 504.1 million barrels—a record for this time of year, and a level not seen in eight decades.
Total gasoline inventories increased by 3 million barrels last week, while distillate inventories were up by 1.4 million barrels. Crude oil imports were also up by 795,000 barrels per day in comparison to the previous week, now averaging 7.9 million bpd.
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Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.7 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging about 4.7 million barrels per day.
Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 3.4 million barrels last week.
According to the EIA, last week refineries were running at 88.3 percent capacity, handling a daily average of 15.8 million barrels, which is also some 338,000 barrels a day higher than the previous week.
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On Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) had fed rumors of a fall in inventory by 3.3 million barrels for the week ending 12 February, helping oil prices gain yesterday and this morning, before the release of the Department of Energy reports.
The market chose to respond to the API’s predictions, rather than to surveys by Bloomberg and Reuters that predicted a build in inventory. Bloomberg predicted that the EIA would show a stockpile increase of 3.5 million barrels. A Reuters analyst survey likewise predicted a crude inventory climb of 3.9 million barrels, while the Wall Street Journal forecast a 3.1 million-barrel rise.
By James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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