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U.S. crude oil inventories drop more than expected

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Staff Writer | May 24, 2017
crude oil inventories
Oil exploration   U.S. commercial crude oil inventories

U.S. crude oil stockpiles drew more quickly than expected last week with analysts pointing to near-record refinery runs as the main culprit.

For the week ending on 19 May, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories fell by 4.4m barrels to reach 516.3m barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy's statistical arm.

Market forecasts were for a smaller reduction of roughly 2.7m barrels.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was also tapped for 0.4m barrels, some of which was likely funnelled into commercial storage, according to Joseph Oyegoke, commodities economist at Capital Economics.

In parallel, refineries operated at 93.5% of capacity during that week, helping to explain a 0.8m barrel drop in gasoline inventories.

Production of gasoline hit 10.2m barrels per day last week, the government said.

Distillate inventories were also drawn down, by 0.5m barrels.

Total imports meanwhile declined by 296,000 b/d in comparison to the prior week's level.

Net imports on the other hand increased, Oyegoke pointed out, making the drop in commercial oil inventories that much more noteworthy, as exports fell by 461,000 b/d.


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