Crude oil inventories rose 5.0 million barrels in the March 9 week to 430.9 million, 18.4 percent below their level a year ago. But product inventories fell sharply, with gasoline down 6.3 million barrels to 244.8 million, 0.6 percent below last year at this time, and distillates down 4.4 million barrels to 133.1 million, 15.4 percent lower than they were a year ago. The EIA's third consecutive weekly build in crude oil was much larger than the 1.2 million barrel increase reported Tuesday to its subscribers by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry group. WTI prices fell about 20 cents to around $60.70 per barrel immediately following the release of the EIA report.
Refineries operated at 90.0 percent of their operable capacity during the week, up 0.1 percentage points from the prior week. Gasoline production increased to an average of 10.3 million barrels per day while the production of distillates declined, averaging 4.5 million barrels per day.
Crude oil imports fell by 481,000 barrels per day in the week to an average of 7.6 million barrels per day. The 4-week average remained at 7.5 million barrels per day, 1.8 percent less than in the same period last year.
Domestic crude oil production over the last four weeks averaged 10.3 million barrels per day, up 14.0 percent from the level a year ago.
Demand remains strong and steady overall, with total products supplied averaging 20.4 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up 3.2 percent from the same period last year. Year-on-year comparisons for the main product categories are softer, however, as motor gasoline supplied averaged 9.2 million barrels per day during the period, 2.5 percent more than a year ago, while distillate fuel product supplied averaged 4.0 million barrels per day, down 4.2 percent year-on-year. Demand strength is most apparent in other products, such as jet fuel, which is up 11.2 percent compared to the same 4-week period last year.