US crude oil supplies drop by 1 million barrels

Energy Department says US crude oil supplies shrank last week, gasoline inventories grew

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's crude oil supplies fell last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies decreased by 1 million barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 371.6 million barrels, which is 14.9 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a decrease of 2.3 million barrels for the week ended Dec. 14, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies increased by 2.2 million barrels, or 1 percent, to 219.3 million barrels. That's 0.4 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to grow by 2 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Dec. 14 was 2.9 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging 8.5 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 91.5 percent of total capacity on average, up 1.1 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to be unchanged.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, shrank by 1.1 million barrels to 117 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to increase by 1.5 barrels.

Benchmark crude futures rose by $1.36 to $89.76 a barrel in New York.

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