US commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 0.2% for the week ending March 26, according to the latest data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Inventories decreased by 900,000 barrels to 501.8 million barrels, compared to the market expectation of a 400,000-barrel rise.
Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in commercial crude stocks, remained unchanged at 637.8 million barrels last week, the data revealed.
Gasoline inventories also fell by 1.7 million barrels, or 0.7%, to 230.5 million barrels over that period.
- Crude production rises
According to EIA data, US crude oil imports increased by 523,000 barrels per day (bpd) to around 6.14 million bpd for the week ending March 26, while crude oil exports also rose by 693,000 bpd to 3.17 million bpd.
The data showed that US crude oil production increased by 90,000 bpd to approximately 11.54 million bpd during the same period.
The EIA's forecast says that US crude output is 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