NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--U.S. crude inventories fell by more than analysts' expectations last week, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Crude oil stockpiles fell 4.4 million barrels to 359.5 million barrels, compared with an average survey estimate of an 1.6 million-barrel decline. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, reported a 2.7 million-barrel draw in its weekly report released late Tuesday.
Oil futures rallied following the report, with light, sweet crude for August delivery recently trading up $1.23, or 1.3%, to $94.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. July reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, traded up 4.83 cents, or 1.7%, to $2.9379 a gallon and July heating oil recently advanced 5.8 cents, or 2.1%, to $2.8837 a gallon.
Stockpiles at Cushing, Okla., fell 500,000 barrels to 37.5 million barrels.
Gasoline stockpiles fell 1.4 million barrels to 213.2 million barrels, the department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report, compared with a 100,000-barrel increase forecast in a Dow Jones Newswires survey of analysts.
Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, rose 300,000 barrels to 142.3 million barrels, compared with analysts' forecast of a 1 million-barrel increase.
Refining capacity utilization fell 1.1 percentage points to 88.1%. Analysts had expected a 0.2-percentage-point increase.
API pegged refinery utilization at 86.5% last week, unchanged from the previous week. The industry group reported stockpiles of gasoline were flat, while distillates fell by 900,000 barrels.
U.S. Oil Inventories:
For week ended June 24:
Crude Distillates Gasoline Refinery Use
EIA data: -4.4 +0.3 -1.4 -1.1
Forecast: -1.6 +0.1 +1.0 +0.2
Figures in millions of barrels, except for refining use, which is reported in percentage points. Forecasts are the average of expectations in a Dow Jones Newswires survey of analysts earlier in the week.
-By Dan Strumpf, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2818; email@example.com