EIA: Oil Stockpiles Rise on Record Gasoline Production

U.S. crude oil and refined products stocks rose last week as imports remained strong and U.S. refineries increased output, the U.S. government said in a weekly report Thursday.

U.S. gasoline production rose by 60,000 barrels per day to 9.402 million bpd, the highest level recorded since the Energy Information Administration began collecting gasoline production data in 1982.

"It looks like this is a little bit of a bearish report, just because the numbers this week are not nearly as bullish as many people had expected," said Peter Beutel, president of Cameron Hanover in New Canaan, Connecticut.

"We've got three builds and a small increase in refinery utilization, and that shows that supplies are going to increase."

U.S. crude oil stocks rose 3.1 million barrels to 354 million barrels in the week ended June 29, despite an increase in refinery utilization, which rose to 90 percent of capacity from 89.4 percent the previous week.

An increase of 277,000 bpd in crude oil imports helped crude stocks continue rising despite the increase in refinery runs.

U.S. crude oil inventories are now at their highest level since May 1998.

Gross inputs to U.S. refineries rose in every part of the country, except the West Coast, where inputs fell by 31,000 bpd.

Analysts have been expecting U.S. refineries to sharply increase crude oil runs in the coming weeks, after a spate of lengthy unplanned maintenance shutdowns, which should reduce crude oil inventories.

U.S. gasoline stocks were also higher, rising 1.8 million barrels to 204.4 million barrels. Gasoline stocks remain below normal levels for this time of year, the EIA said.

Gasoline demand, as measured by the amount of product supplied to retailers over the past four weeks, has averaged 9.553 million bpd, up 1.2 percent from 9.440 million bpd a year ago.

Distillate stocks climbed 1.2 million barrels as distillate imports rose by 99,000 bpd, despite strong demand. U.S. distillate fuel demand over the four weeks averaged 4.142 million bpd, up 3.4 percent over the same period last year, the EIA said.

In a separate report also released Thursday, the American Petroleum Institute said crude oil stocks increased by 1.18 million barrels to 352.2 million barrels. The API also said a small increase in gasoline stocks left the total unchanged at 201.1 barrels, while distillate stocks climbed 1.7 million barrels to 123.2 million barrels.