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U.S. Oil Inventories Rise, Weakening Crude Prices


By Paulo Trevisani

U.S. oil inventories rose more than expected last week, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday. This increase has contributed to the ongoing decline in crude prices.

Crude Stockpiles

Commercial crude-oil stockpiles increased by 1.4 million barrels last week, reaching a total of 421.1 million barrels. Despite this rise, stockpiles still remain approximately 5% below the five-year average. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted a much smaller increase of only 10,000 barrels from the prior week.

Cushing, Okla. Storage

Oil stored at Cushing, Okla., which is the delivery point for U.S. stocks, also experienced a slight increase. It rose from 21 million barrels the previous week to 21.2 million barrels.

U.S. Crude-Oil Production

U.S. crude-oil production remained unchanged at 13.2 million barrels per day. This is consistent with the weekly high reached earlier this month and is in line with the previous peak of 13.1 million barrels per day, set at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

Gasoline and Distillate Stocks

Gasoline stockpiles saw a slight increase of 200,000 barrels, reaching a total of 223.5 million barrels. This comes in contrast to analysts’ expectations of a 300,000-barrel decrease.

On the other hand, distillate stocks, which consist mainly of diesel fuel, declined by 1.7 million barrels to 112.1 million barrels.

Refining Capacity Utilization

The refining capacity utilization rate decreased slightly from 86.1% to 85.6%. This is in contrast to expectations for a 0.5-percentage-point increase.

U.S. Oil Inventories for the Week Ended Oct. 20:

  • Crude: +1.4 million barrels
  • Gasoline: +0.2 million barrels
  • Distillates: -1.7 million barrels
  • Refinery Use: -0.5 percentage points

Note: Numbers are in millions of barrels, except for refinery use, which is represented in percentage points.


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