- Fuel consumption, as measured by product supplied, fell in the most recent week, led by declines in gasoline and jet fuel supplied
Crude oil stockpiles fell modestly last week, while gasoline inventories dipped to their lowest level since November, the US Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude inventories fell by 447,000 barrels in the week to Aug. 6 to 438.8 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.3 million-barrel drop. Overall crude inventories have been on the decline for several weeks due to increased demand.
Fuel consumption, as measured by product supplied, fell in the most recent week, led by declines in gasoline and jet fuel supplied.
The weekly figures are volatile, however, and over the last four weeks produced supplied sits at 20.6 million barrels per day (bpd), roughly in line with 2019 levels. Analysts said if fuel demand starts to decline as a result of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, it would be negative for energy prices.
"We did see a fairly decent setback in overall product demand. That's the point in today's report that could cause the most concern considering the backdrop of the Delta variant and overall uncertainty," said Tony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging.
Oil prices were lower on the day, though roughly in line with the market's level prior to the news. As of 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 GMT), US crude fell 51 cents to $67.78 a barrel while Brent dropped 56 cents to $70.06 a barrel.
Refinery crude runs rose by 277,000 bpd in the last week, while refinery utilization rates rose by 0.5 percentage point.
US gasoline stocks fell by 1.4 million barrels to 227.5 million barrels, compared with expectations for a 1.7 million-barrel drop.?
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.8 million barrels, versus expectations for a 472,000-barrel drop.
Net US crude imports fell last week by 796,000 bpd.