Crude oil inventories in the U.S. outpaced market expectations for week ending March 1, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.
Commercial crude oil stocks increased by 7.1 million barrels, or 1.6 percent, to 452.9 million barrels last week, the EIA data showed. The market expectation was an increase of 1.2 million barrels. Stocks decreased by 8.6 million barrels over the previous week.
Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in the commercial crude stocks, remained unchanged at 649.1 million barrels last week, according to the data.
Gasoline inventories fell by 4.2 million barrels, or 1.7 percent, to 250.7 million barrels during that period, compared to the market expectation of a decline of 2.1 million barrels. During the previous week, gasoline inventories dropped by 1.9 million barrels.
- Crude production falls
The U.S.' crude oil production decreased slightly by 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) to remain at a record high of around 12.1 million bpd for the week ending March 1, the EIA data showed.
Last week, all of the 5,000 bpd decline in crude production came from the state of Alaska, but remained unchanged in other U.S. states excluding Hawaii.
This marked the 14th time crude oil production in the U.S. showed a decrease over the past 60 weeks.
Since the week ending Nov. 9, 2018, crude oil production in the country marked a historic high level of 11.7 million bpd, then production climbed to 11.9 million bpd for the week ending Jan. 11, and reached an all-time high of 12.1 million bpd for the week ending Feb. 22, according to the EIA data.
The U.S.' crude oil production is expected to average 12.4 million bpd in 2019 and 13.2 million bpd in 2020, according to the EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook report for February.
By Ovunc Kutlu