U.S. crude oil inventories rose for the 10th week in a row, surging to their most since May 2021, but record U.S. exports of crude oil kept the build smaller than in recent weeks, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.
Crude inventories rose by 1.2 million barrels in the week ending Feb. 24 to 480.2 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 500,000-barrel rise.
A widening of U.S. crude and Brent crude spreads contributed to a record 5.6 million barrels per day in U.S. crude exports last week, which resulted in a smaller build than in previous weeks, according to UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.
Meanwhile, net U.S. crude imports fell by 1.15 million bpd, the lowest on record, EIA said.
“The record exports helped keep crude supplies in line,” added Price Group analyst Phil Flynn.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 307,000 barrels in the last week, the most since June 2021, the EIA said.
As a heavy maintenance season continued to weigh on refinery runs, refinery utilization rates fell by 0.1 percentage point in the week while refinery crude runs fell by 31,000 barrels per day, the EIA said.
U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 900,000 barrels in the week to 239.2 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 500,000-barrel rise.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 0.2 million barrels in the week to 122.1 million barrels, its most since January 2022, versus forecasts for a 500,000-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.