US crude stockpiles fall, with Cushing down for a seventh week

U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell more than expected last week with supplies at the Cushing, Oklahoma hub dropping for a seventh week, while gasoline and distillate inventories rose, the Energy Information Administration said.

Crude inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels in the week to Aug. 16, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 1.9 million barrels.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 2.5 million barrels, EIA said, the seventh consecutive weekly fall in stocks at the delivery point for U.S. crude futures.

At 42.3 million barrels, Cushing stocks were at their lowest since February, as the startup of pipelines from the Permian region to the U.S. Gulf Coast has reduced the number of barrels going to Cushing.

“The report was supportive with the overall crude oil inventory decline and the continuing declines at the Cushing delivery hub, which is a trend that needs to be monitored, as pipeline build out dynamics play out,” said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital Management.

Crude futures were largely steady after the report. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 21 cents to $56.34 a barrel as of 10:49 a.m. ET (1449 GMT), while Brent crude rose 61 cents to $60.64 a barrel.

Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 616,000 barrels per day, and crude production was steady at 12.3 million bpd.

Refinery crude runs rose by 400,000 bpd, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 1.1 percentage points to 95.9 percent of total capacity.

Gasoline stocks rose by 312,000 barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 169,000-barrel gain.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 2.6 million barrels, versus expectations for a 314,000-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.

Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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