The U.S.' crude oil inventories increased less than market expectations last week, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.
Commercial crude oil inventories rose by 0.5 million barrels, or 0.1%, to 443.3 million barrels for the week ending Feb. 21, the EIA data showed. The market expectation was an increase of 2.5 million barrels. Inventories rose by 0.4 million barrels during the previous week.
Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in the commercial crude stocks, remained unchanged at 635 million barrels last week, the data revealed.
Gasoline inventories, on the other hand, showed a decrease of 2.7 million barrels, or 1%, to 256.4 million barrels over that period. Gasoline stocks fell by 2 million barrels during the previous week.
-Crude production falls slightly
The U.S.' crude oil imports decreased by 330,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 6.22 million bpd for the week ending Feb. 21, while crude oil exports saw an increase of 93,000 bpd to 3.56 million bpd, according to the EIA data.
Crude oil production in the U.S. fell slightly by 8,000 bpd to remain almost unchanged at 13 million bpd for the week ending Feb. 21, the EIA data showed. The U.S.' crude oil output first reached an all-time high of 13 million bpd for the week ending Jan. 10.
The U.S.' crude oil production is expected to average 13.2 million bpd in 2020, according to the EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook report for February.
The country surpassed Saudi Arabia, and then Russia in November 2018 to become the world's biggest crude oil producer.
By Ovunc Kutlu