Crude oil prices moved higher today, after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an inventory draw of 5.9 million barrels for the week to December 16.
At 418.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain some 7 percent below the five-year average for this time of the year.
The latest draw follows a weekly addition of 10.2 million barrels for the previous week—one of the biggest weekly increases in inventories this year.
In gasoline, the Energy Information Administration estimated an inventory build of 2.5 million barrels for the week to December 16, which compared with a build of 4.5 million barrels for the previous week.
Gasoline production averaged 9.6 million barrels daily, which compared with 9.2 million barrels daily for the previous week.
In middle distillates, the EIA reported an inventory decline of 200,000 barrels for the week to December 16. This compared with a build of 1.4 million barrels for the previous week.
Middle distillate production averaged 5.1 million bpd last week, which compares with 5.2 million bpd over the previous week.
Refineries processed 16 million bpd last week, operating at 90.9 percent of capacity. This compared with a daily run rates of an average 16.1 million barrels daily the previous week, with refineries operating at 92.2 percent of capacity.
Imports of crude oil last week stood at 5.8 million barrels daily, which compared with 6.9 million bpd for the previous week.
Oil prices have been on the mend this week, buoyed by a forecast for freezing weather in the United States, the White House’s plan to start buying crude to replenish the strategic petroleum reserve after the biggest draw from it in history, and China’s expected demand recovery.
A slump in the U.S. dollar also helped oil prices on their way up this week as a cheaper dollar makes oil more affordable for buyers in other currencies as well.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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