U.S. crude inventories rose last week as fuel demand declined, and while the rise was smaller than expected, U.S. crude stockpiles petroleum touched their highest level since June 2021, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday.
Crude inventories rose by 533,000 barrels in the past week to 448.5 million barrels, substantially below analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1 million barrel increase.
U.S. WTI crude futures added more than $1 to hit a session high of $81.23 a barrel on Wednesday, before reducing gains.
“The increase was much smaller than expected and that raises concerns about supply shortages,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery center increased by 4.3 million barrels last week, according to the EIA.
Crude consumption at refineries rose by 128,000 barrels a day last week, while refinery utilization rate rose by 0.8 percentage points.
U.S. gasoline stocks rose by 1.8 million barrels on the week to 232 million barrels, according to the EIA, against analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.8 million barrel increase.
Although demand for distillates fell by 146,000 barrels per day, reserves of distillates, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 0.5 million to 115.3 million barrels, EIA data showed.
Normally, the consumption of distillates increases during the winter season in the northern hemisphere due to the demand for heating.
Net imports of U.S. crude fell by 1.79 million barrels per day, according to the EIA.