The nation’s stockpiles of commercial crude oil fell by 1.7 million barrels last week, surprising industry observers who’d projected a sizable increase yet again.
The dip in crude supplies was buoyed by the U.S. nearly breaking its weekly record in crude oil exports, shipping out 3.7 million barrels a day, primarily from the Texas Gulf Coast, according to new estimates from the U.S. Energy Department.
The drop in crude inventories was part of an even bigger overall decline in petroleum stocks as supplies of gasoline, jet fuel and distillate fuel oil – used to make diesel and heating oils – all fell as well. Total commercial petroleum stocks fell by 9 million barrels last week, the Energy Department said.
The decline jumps to 10 million when counting another sale from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is now down more than 2 percent in the last 12 months.
For the third week in a row, the U.S. was actually a net exporter of petroleum and products by a slim margin. This is the first time that’s ever happened multiple weeks in a row. In fact, it’s only happened a handful of times on a weekly basis.
The U.S. is still producing a record high of 12.6 million barrels of crude oil per day, the federal government estimates.