According to data released on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. inventories of crude oil fell more than expected last week, reaching their lowest level this year.
Price Surge Continues
Following the report, benchmark U.S. oil prices, which were already higher, continued to rise. The Nymex front-month crude contract for November delivery increased by 2.9% to $92.97 a barrel.
Significant Stockpile Decrease
Commercial crude-oil stockpiles decreased by 2.2 million barrels last week to 416.3 million barrels. This marks the lowest total since December 2, 2022, and a 4% drop below the five-year average, according to the EIA. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted a decrease of 600,000 barrels.
Lowest Storage Level in Months
Additionally, oil stored at Cushing, Okla., where U.S. stocks are delivered, reached its lowest level since July 8, 2022. The EIA reported that oil inventories at Cushing fell by 943,000 barrels from the previous week to 22 million barrels.
Stable Crude Oil Production
U.S. crude-oil production remained unchanged from the previous week, holding steady at a three-and-a-half-year high of 12.9 million barrels a day, according to the EIA.
Increase in Gasoline Stockpiles
On the other hand, gasoline stockpiles saw an increase of 1 million barrels to reach 220.5 million barrels. This contradicted analysts’ expectations of a 200,000-barrel decrease.
Rise in Diesel Fuel Stocks
Distillate stocks, which mainly consist of diesel fuel, rose by 398,000 barrels to a total of 120.1 million barrels. However, these stocks are still approximately 13% below the five-year average, as stated by the EIA. Analysts had forecasted a decrease of 1 million barrels for distillates inventories.
Refining Capacity Utilization Rate
The refining capacity utilization rate experienced a more significant decrease, dropping by 2.4 percentage points to 89.5% from the previous week. This was higher than the expected 0.5-percentage-point decrease.
Summary of U.S. Oil Inventories for the Week Ended Sept. 22
- Crude: -2.2 million barrels
- Gasoline: +1.0 million barrels
- Distillates: +0.4 million barrels
- Refinery Use: -2.4%
Note: Numbers are in millions of barrels, except for refinery use, which is in percentage points.