May 2, 2022 [Reuters] – U.S. crude stocks rose less than expected while fuel inventories continued to decline in a tightly supplied market, Energy Information Administration data showed on Wednesday.
Crude inventories rose by 692,000 barrels in the week to April 22 to 414.4 million barrels, short of analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2 million-barrel rise.
Fuel stocks were down, as the United States keeps exporting products like diesel. Distillate stockpiles , which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.4 million barrels in the week to 107.3 million barrels, driving those stocks to their lowest level since May of 2008.
Distillate stocks have steadily declined in part due to heavy demand overseas for U.S. products, which has grown since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia is the largest exporter of refined products and numerous countries have banned imports of Russian oil, leading to a hunt for other barrels.
“I’m not surprised that diesel inventories continued to decline as Gulf Coast refiners are supplying not only South America but now European consumers, as those consumers turn away from Russia supply,” said Andrew Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston. “It’s going to continue over the next several weeks and months.”
So far this year, the United States is exporting 6.3 million barrels of refined products daily, up 25% from the same period a year ago.
Net U.S. crude imports rose last week by 646,000 barrels per day, EIA said.
U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 1.6 million barrels in the week, compared with expectations for a 808,000-barrel rise.
Refinery utilization rates fell by 0.7 percentage points in the week.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 1.3 million barrels in the last week, EIA said.
Brent crude futures were down 30 cents to $104.69 as of 10:50 a.m. ET (1450 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures dropped 45 cents to $101.25 a barrel.
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