US crude oil inventories fell three times more than expected last week, data from the government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), as fuel demand rose from higher public travel as well as activity by truckers to deliver packages for the year-end holidays.
Crude inventories fell by 5.894 million barrels for the week ended December 16, versus a draw down of 10.231 million during the previous week to December 9, 2022 the EIA said in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report.
Analysts polled by US media had expected a smaller draw down of 1.657M barrels for last week, but people hit the road, while colder temperatures cause more energy consumption.
Gasoline stockpiles rose by 2.53 million barrels, versus a forecast build of 2.14 million barrels. In the prior week, gasoline stockpiles rose by 4.496 million. Gasoline is the top automobile fuel in the USA.
Inventories of distillates, meanwhile, rose by 242,000 barrels last week, compared with a projected build of 336,000. In the prior week, gasoline inventories rose by 1.364 million.
Distillates are refined into diesel for trucks, buses, trains and heavy bunker oil for ships as well as kerosene fuel for jets.
Demand aside, gasoline and distillate inventories also experienced a larger inventory drop last week from reduced refining activity.
Refineries operated at 90.9% of their operable capacity last week, versus 92.2% in the previous week to December 2, 2022 according to the EIA.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point Oil & Gas News 2022.