Investing.com – inventories plunged 17 million barrels last week, smashing trade forecasts, amid intensive production cuts by Saudi Arabia, the agency responsible for national energy data reported Wednesday.
But stockpiles of gasoline rose, confounding expectations for a decline as well, even as distillates inventories fell more than thought, the Weekly Petroleum Status Report from the Energy Information Administration, or EIA, showed.
The dropped by 17.049M barrels during the week ended July 28, versus forecasts for a decline of just 1.367M.
Over three previous weeks, the EIA had been reporting lackluster draws on the U.S. petroleum complex despite Saudi Arabia claiming to have taken an additional million barrels per day off its daily production.
Analysts have said that while it wasn’t logical to expect a barrel-for-barrel correlation between changes in Saudi crude exports and U.S. inventories, the EIA as the world’s premier provider of transparent and comprehensive data on energy, had to be capturing the shifts in the global supply situation at least in its weekly data. In the prior week to July 21, for instance, the U.S. crude draw from storage was only 0.6M.
In its latest Weekly Petroleum Status Report, the EIA also said U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 16.5M barrels per day during the week ending July 28 — up 0.04M more than the previous week’s average.
Refineries operated at 92.7% of their operable capacity last week, the EIA said, adding that gasoline production increased as well last week to an average of 9.8M per day along with distillate fuel production, which averaged 4.9M daily.
On the front, there was a build of 1.480M barrels over the 0.786M-barrel decline in the previous week. Automotive fuel gasoline is the No. 1 U.S. fuel product.
With , there was a drop of 0.796M barrels versus the prior week’s deficit of 0.245M. Distillates are refined into , diesel for trucks, buses, trains and ships, and fuel for jets.