Commercial crude oil inventories rose by 1.6 million barrels, or 0.4%, to 455.4 million barrels for the week ending March 20, the EIA data showed. The market expectation was an increase of 2.77 million barrels. Inventories rose by 1.95 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 1.5 million barrels, or 0.6%, to 239.3 million barrels over that period. While the market expectation was a decrease of 660,000 barrels for gasoline stocks, they declined by 6.2 million barrels during the previous week.
- Crude oil production down
The U.S.' crude oil imports decreased by 422,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 6.12 million bpd for the week ending March 20, and crude oil exports saw a decline of 528,000 bpd to 3.85 million bpd, according to the EIA data.
Crude oil production in the U.S. also decreased by 119,000 bpd to 13 million bpd for the week ending March 20, the EIA data showed. The U.S.' crude oil output first reached an all-time high of 13.1 million bpd for the week ending Feb. 28.
The U.S.' crude oil production is expected to average 13 million bpd in 2020, according to the EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook report for March.
The country surpassed Saudi Arabia, and then Russia, in November 2018 to become the world's biggest crude oil producer.
By Ovunc Kutlu