Following three weeks of increases, crude oil inventories resumed their longer term downtrend and fell 1.6 million barrels in the February 16 week to 420.5 million, 18.9 percent below the level a year ago. Gasoline inventories rose 0.3 million barrels from the prior week to 249.3 million, 2.8 percent below last year at this time, while inventories of distillates fell 2.4 million barrels to 138.9 million, down 15.9 percent year-on-year. The weekly decline in crude oil inventories exceeded the 0.9 million barrels draw reported Wednesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry group. WTI prices jumped about $1.00 higher to around $62.60 per barrel immediately following the release of the EIA report.
Refineries slowed down in the week to operate at 88.1 percent of their operable capacity, down 1.7 percentage points from the prior week. Gasoline production nevertheless rose, averaging 10.1 million barrels per day, while the production of distillate fell, averaging 4.5 million barrels per day.
Crude oil imports fell to an average of 7.0 million barrels per day, down 867,000 barrels per day from the prior week. The 4-week average of crude oil imports fell to 7.8 million per day, 6.6 percent less than the same period last year.
Demand remains strong though growth comparisons are slightly weaker than last week, with total products supplied averaging 20.6 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up 4.3 percent from the same period last year. Of this amount, motor gasoline supplied averaged 9.1 million barrels per day, up 5.4 percent from last year, while distillates supplied were up 4.3 percent year-on-year at 4.1 million barrels per day.