ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)


U.S. crude stockpiles unexpectedly fell in the week ended Jan. 2, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Crude-oil stockpiles fell 3.1 million barrels to 382.4 million barrels, compared with an average survey estimate for stocks to rise by 300,000 barrels on the week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, posted the largest weekly increase in history. Stockpiles rose by 11.2 million barrels to 136.9 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report. Analysts had expected a 2.3 million-barrel weekly increase.

Oil stored in Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for the U.S. oil-price benchmark, rose by 1.3 million barrels to 32.1 million barrels.

Gasoline stockpiles rose by 8.1 million barrels to 237.2 million barrels, the highest since Feb. 18, 2011, the EIA said in its weekly report. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted stockpiles would rise by 3.2 million barrels.

Refining capacity utilization fell by 0.5 percentage point to 93.9%. Analysts had predicted the operating rate would slip 0.2 percentage point in the week.

Figures are in millions of barrels, rounded, except for refining use, which is reported in percentage points. Forecasts are the average of expectations in a Wall Street Journal survey of analysts earlier in the week