US commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 0.7% for the week ending Jan. 8, according to the latest data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Inventories decreased by 3.2 million barrels to 482.2 million barrels, more than the market expectation of a fall of 2.7 million barrels.
Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in commercial crude stocks, remained unchanged at 638.1 million barrels last week, the data revealed.
Gasoline inventories increased by 4.4 million barrels, or 1.8%, to 245.5 million barrels over that period.
-Crude production declines
According to EIA data, US crude oil imports increased by 870,000 barrels per day (bpd) to around 6.23 million bpd for the week ending Jan. 8, while crude oil exports also saw a fall of 621,000 bpd to 3.01 million bpd.
The data showed that US crude oil production decreased by 3,000 bpd to approximately 11.5 million bpd during the same period.
The EIA's forecast shows that US crude output is now estimated at 11.1 million bpd for 2021, down from 11.3 million bpd in 2020.
In November 2018, the US first surpassed Saudi Arabia and then Russia to become the world's largest crude oil producer.
By Sibel Morrow