Wednesday, March 30, 2011

US OIL INVENTORIES: Crude Stocks Rise By 2.9 Million Barrels

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- U.S. crude inventories rose more than analysts' expectations last week, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Crude oil stockpiles rose 2.9 million barrels to 355.7 million barrels, compared with an average survey estimate of a 1.5-million-barrel increase. The American Petroleum Institute, an indsutry group, reported a 5.7-million-barrel build in its weekly report released late Tuesday.

Light, sweet crude for May delivery extended early losses following the report, recently trading $1.24 lower at $103.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. April gasoline futures fell 0.71 cent to $3.0387 a gallon, while April heating oil futures fell 1.50 cents to $3.0265 a gallon.

Oil stockpiles have risen by nearly 21 million barrels since the beginning of the year, and have posted gains for four straight weeks.

Gasoline stockpiles fell 2.7 million barrels to 217 million barrels, the department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report, compared with a drop of 1.7 million barrels forecast in a Dow Jones Newswires survey of analysts.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, rose by 700,000 barrels to 107.9 million barrels, compared with analysts' forecast of a 400,000- barrel drop.

Refining capacity utilization remained unchanged at 84.1%. Analysts had expected a 0.3 percentage point increase.

API pegged refinery utilization at 83.3% last week, up 0.7 percentage point. The industry group reported that stockpiles of gasoline fell by 2 million barrels and distillates fell by 112,000 barrels.

U.S. Oil Inventories:
For week ended March 25:
Crude Distillates Gasoline Refinery Use
EIA data: +2.9 +0.7 -2.7 unch
Forecast: +1.5 -0.4 -1.7 +0.3

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 Jerry A. DiColo, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2155; jerry.dicolo@

Dow Jones Newswires

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