U.S. crude output, refining use slump on Texas storms

U.S. crude oil production dropped by more than 1 million barrels per day last week during Texas's deep freeze, equaling the largest weekly fall ever, and refining use also fell dramatically, the Energy Information Administration said.

Overall output fell by 1.1 million bpd to 9.7 million bpd in the week to Feb. 19, the EIA said, as the brutal cold forced most of the state's power grid offline, and oil operators and refiners were forced to shut as components and pipelines froze. Some analysts had estimated far higher figures for production declines.

Refinery crude runs fell by 2.6 million bpd in the week, EIA said, and refinery utilization rates fell by 14.5% in the week as numerous facilities along the Gulf Coast shut in. Many of those operations are now restarting, though analysts say it will take a few weeks before both refining and production reaches pre-storm levels.

“It’s my understanding as I’ve talked to CEOs and operators that most folks are back online," said Ben Shepperd, president of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association.

Crude inventories rose by 1.3 million barrels in the week to 463 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 5.2 million-barrel drop.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 2.8 million barrels, and net U.S. crude imports rose by 249,000 bpd, the EIA said.

U.S. gasoline stocks rose by 12,000 barrels to 257.1 million barrels, compared with expectations for a 3.1 million-barrel drop.​

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 5 million barrels in the week to 152.7 million barrels, versus expectations for a 3.7 million-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.

(Reporting By David Gaffen Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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