Crude oil inventories in the U.S. increased last week by more than market expectations, while production remained almost unchanged at a record high level, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.
The U.S.' commercial crude oil stocks increased by 3.6 million barrels, or 0.8 percent, to 450.5 million barrels for the week ending Nov. 23, the EIA data showed.
The market expectation for crude stocks was an increase of 0.8 million barrels. Stocks jumped by 4.9 million barrels the previous week.
Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in the commercial crude oil stocks, fell by 2 million barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 650.6 million barrels for the week ending Nov. 23.
Gasoline inventories decreased by 0.8 million barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 224.6 million barrels during the same period compared to the market expectation of an increase of 0.6 million barrels. They fell by 1.3 million barrels during the previous week.
- Oil output still at record level
Crude oil production in the U.S. remained almost unchanged at an all-time high of 11.7 million barrels per day (bpd) for the week ending Nov. 23, according to the EIA data, although output fell by 5 thousand bpd in the state of Alaska.
This marked the 9th time crude oil production decreased in the U.S. during the past 46 weeks. However, the U.S. continues to lead the world as the biggest crude producer.
The U.S.' crude oil production is estimated to average 10.9 million bpd this year, and 12.1 million bpd next year, according to the EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook report in November.
Crude oil production in the U.S. has been on the rise over recent months, and at the same time Russian and Saudi Arabian production has also shown historical highs.
The increased global oil production in the U.S. puts a downward pressure on crude prices, while President Donald Trump pushes his agenda of low oil prices for American consumers and potential high economic growth fueled by low energy costs.
With the increase in the U.S.' weekly crude oil stocks beating market expectations, crude prices showed declines on Wednesday. Brent crude fell to as low as $58.88 per barrel while American benchmark saw a daily low of $50.09 a barrel.
By Ovunc Kutlu