Crude oil inventories fell 2.6 million barrels in the August 24 week to 405.8 million, 11.4 percent below their level a year ago. Product inventories also declined, with gasoline down 1.6 million barrels to 232.8 million, 1.2 percent above the year ago level, and distillates down 0.8 million barrels to 130.0 million, down 12.8 percent year-on-year. The across-the-board declines in crude oil and product inventories contrasted with a 0.1 million barrel build in crude oil, an unchanged reading in gasoline, and a distillate inventories increase of 1.0 million barrels reported Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry group. WTI prices rose about 40 cents to around $69.45 per barrel immediately following the release of the EIA data, but reversed minutes later to trade below pre-release levels at around $69.00 per barrel.
Refineries slowed to operate at 96.3 percent of their operable capacity, down 1.8 percentage points from the prior week. Production of gasoline nevertheless slightly increased, averaging 10.2 million barrels per day, while distillates production did fall, averaging 5.2 million barrels per day.
Crude oil imports fell by a slight 33,000 barrels per day from the prior week to a daily average of 7.5 million barrels per day. Over the last 4 weeks, crude oil imports averaged 8.0 million barrels per day, 1.9 percent less than the level a year ago.
Domestic crude oil production remained steady over the last 4 weeks at 10.9 million barrels per day, 15.1 percent more than in the same period last year.
Overall product demand increased but remained in negative territory in the year-on-year comparison, with total product supplied over the last 4 weeks averaging 21.2 million barrels per day, down 0.2 percent from the same period last year. Demand for gasoline remained soft, with supplied gasoline averaging 9.6 million barrels, down 1.5 percent from the same period last year, while demand for distillates strengthened and was down just 1.5 percent year-on-year at a supplied average of 4.1 million barrels per day.