Crude oil inventories fell 5.8 million barrels in the August 17 week to 408.4 million, 11.8 percent below their level a year ago. But product inventories rose, with gasoline up 1.2 million barrels to 234.3 million, 1.9 percent above the year ago level, while distillates rose 1.8 million barrels to 130.8 million, down 11.8 percent year-on-year. The crude oil decline was larger than the 5.2 million barrel draw reported Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry group, while the build in gasoline contrasted with the API's 0.9 million barrel decline, though the build for distillates was the same in both reports. WTI prices fell about 50 cents to around $66.85 per barrel immediately following the release of the EIA data, but prices quickly recovered to pre-release levels.
Refineries operated at 98.1 percent of their operable capacity, unchanged from the prior week. Production of gasoline fell slightly, averaging 10.2 million barrels per day, but production of distillates increased to an average of 5.4 million barrels per day.
After rising sharply in the previous week, crude oil imports sharply declined by an even larger amount, falling 1.5 million barrels per day to a daily average of 7.5 million barrels. Over the last 4 weeks, crude oil imports averaged 8.1 million barrels per day, 2.2 percent less than the level a year ago.
Domestic crude oil production was steady, averaging 10.9 million barrels per day over the last 4 weeks, 15.1 percent above the level a year ago.
Overall product demand remained steady but soft, with total product supplied over the last 4-weeks averaging 20.8 million barrels per day, down 1.1 percent from last year at this time. Also remaining soft was demand for the main products, which at 9.5 million barrels per day for gasoline was down 1.5 percent from the same period last year and at 3.9 million barrels per day for distillates was down 7.7 percent year-on-year.