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U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell last week with production falling for the first time since July, while gasoline and distillate inventories rose as refiners ramped up output, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories fell by 4.6 million barrels in the week ending Dec. 1 to 445 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.4 million-barrel drop.

The crude stock figure was adjusted down 2.7 million barrels, the biggest week-on-week drop in unaccounted barrels on record.

Net U.S. crude imports rose by 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd), while crude production fell 100,000 bpd to 13.1 million bpd, its first weekly decline since July, the EIA said.

Refinery crude runs rose by 179,000 bpd last week, the EIA said, while utilization rates rose by 0.7 percentage point to 90.5 per cent of total capacity.

“We’re finally beginning to see the impact of refiners returning from maintenance as crude oil inventories drew, but gasoline and distillate inventories more than enough to offset the crude oil draw,” said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates.

Gasoline stocks rose by 5.4 million barrels in the week to 223.6 million barrels, the EIA said, far exceeding expectations for a 1 million-barrel build.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, increased by 1.3 million barrels to 112 million barrels, the data showed, versus forecasts for a 1.5 million-barrel rise.

Both crude benchmarks extended losses following the storage report, falling to session lows. West Texas Intermediate crude futures (WTI) traded down 3.7 per cent to $69.64 a barrel by 11:10 a.m. EDT (1610 GMT), the lowest since June. Brent crude fell 3.1 per cent to $74.74, trading below $75 for the first time since July.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for WTI rose by 1.8 million barrels in the last week, the EIA said.

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