U.S. crude oil and fuel stockpiles fell last week, as demand continued to outstrip supply, with commercial crude inventories drawing down even as more strategic reserves entered the market.
Crude inventories fell by 5.1 million barrels in the week to May 27 to 414.7 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.3 million-barrel drop.
The fall comes even though the U.S. government released more than 5 million barrels of reserves in the most recent week and as net crude imports rose by 83,000 barrels per day, the EIA said.
Refining runs fell by 236,000 bpd last week, the EIA said, dropping the overall utilization rate 0.6 percentage point to 92.6% nationwide, which is still seasonally strong, as the United States moves into peak summer driving season.
“Gasoline inventories showed a draw as implied demand kicked higher, despite record prices at the pump, while distillate inventories showed a minor draw too amid a tick higher in implied demand,” said Matt Smith, lead oil analyst, Americas, at Kpler.
U.S. gasoline stocks were only marginally lower, declining by 711,000 barrels in the week, while distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, dipped by 530,000 barrels.
Distillate stocks remain at all-time lows on the U.S. East Coast, which has few refineries and depends on transit from other parts of the United States and foreign imports. Refining use on the East Coast is running at more than 98%, highest in nearly four years.
Oil prices moved up after the data, with U.S. crude gaining $1.13, or 1%, to $116.38 a barrel, and Brent up 96 cents to $117.27 a barrel as of 11:32 a.m. EDT.