The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday a build in crude oil inventories of 2.927 million barrels for the week ending March 19.
Analysts had predicted a much smaller inventory build of 272,000 barrels for the week.
In the previous week, the API reported a draw in oil inventories of 1 million barrels after analysts had predicted build of 2.964 million barrels.
After oil prices fell last week, they fell even further on Tuesday ahead of today's data.
At 4:00 p.m. ET, before Tuesday's data release, WTI had fallen by $3.91 on the day (-6.35%) to $57.48—a $7 per barrel decrease from last week as new EU lockdowns threaten to further dampen oil demand and as speculators look to liquidate their long positions.
The Brent crude benchmark had also fallen on the day $4.13 at that time (-6.39%) to $60.49—about $8 per barrel down on the week.
U.S. oil production stayed the same for the week ending March 12 at 10.9 million bpd, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration.
The API reported a draw in gasoline inventories of 3.728-million barrels for the week ending March 19—on top of the previous week's 926,000-barrel draw. Analysts had expected a 1.186-million-barrel build for the week.
Distillate stocks saw an increase in inventories this week of 246,000 barrels for the week, after last week's 904,000-barrel increase.
Cushing inventory figures fell by 2.282 million barrels.
Enbridge tanks at main Cushing area as of March 19. Image courtesy of GeoSpatial Insight
Post data release, at 4:38 p.m. EDT, the WTI benchmark was trading at $57.52, while Brent crude was trading at $60.52.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.