Crude oil inventories rose 3.0 million barrels in the February 23 week to 423.5 million, 18.6 percent below the level a year ago. Gasoline inventories rose 2.5 million barrels to 251.8 million, 1.6 percent below last year at this time, while distillates fell 1.0 million barrels to 138.0 million, down 16.0 percent year-on-year. The weekly increase in crude oil inventories was significantly larger than the 0.9 million build reported Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry group. WTI prices fell about 70 cents to around $62.50 per barrel immediately following the release of the EIA report.
Refineries slowed operations slightly in the week to operate at 87.8 percent of their operable capacity, down 0.3 percentage points from the prior week. Production of gasoline decreased to 9.4 million barrels per day but distillates production remained unchanged, averaging 4.5 million barrels per day.
Crude oil imports rose in the week, averaging 7.3 million barrels per day, up 261,000 barrels per day from the previous week. The 4-week average, however, fell to 7.5 million barrels per day, 8.1 percent less than in the same period last year.
Demand softened from the strong levels seen earlier in the month, with total products supplied averaging 20.4 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up 2.7 percent from the same period last year. Of this amount, motor gasoline supplied averaged 9.0 million barrels per day, up 3.8 percent from last year, while distillates supplied averaged 4.0 million barrels per day, up just 0.9 percent year-on-year.