U.S. crude oil and gasoline stocks were little changed last week and distillates fell, as oil imports decreased and refinery utilization increased, according to a weekly report from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.
Domestic crude declined 15,000 barrels to 370.3 million barrels in the week to May 13, the report showed, versus expectations for a 1 million barrel build in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Crude imports fell 394,000 barrels a day to 8.54 million bpd.
Inventories of gasoline rose 119,000 barrels to 205.9 million barrels. That compared with expectations for an 800,000-barrel build.
EIA data showed that U.S. gasoline demand fell in the past four weeks by 2.3 percent from the same period of 2010.
Distillates fell 1.16 million barrels to 143.1 million barrels. Analysts had forecast a 700,000-barrel build.
Refinery utilization expanded by 1.5 percentage points to 83.2 percent. That compared with analyst expectations for a 0.2 percentage point gain.
Inventories at the key Cushing, Oklahoma terminal fell 1.59 million barrels to 40 million barrels. Cushing is the delivery point for the New York Mercantile Exchange's West Texas Intermediate crude futures.
It looks like the stocks were broadly unchanged. Crude inventories were off minimally and distillates were off a million, but it doesn't amount to much, said Gene McGillian of Tradition Energy in Connecticut.
The draw in Cushing stocks might be supportive, but we need to see a few weeks of that for it to make a difference, he added.
The EIA data showed the largest week-on-week crude stock drawdown in the Midwest (PADD II) and Cushing since November 2010.
Gasoline stocks in the East Coast (PADD I) fell 665,000 barrels to 50.84 million barrels last week. In the prior week, the region's gasoline stocks rose by a large 3.51 million barrels despite outages at refineries.
U.S. oil futures rose further after the data, trading up $2.48 to $99.39 a barrel by 11:08 a.m. EDT (1508 GMT). Beforehand they had been up $2.00.
In spite of higher run rates last week, U.S. refiners were ramping up plant utilization at a slower rate than past springs as the peak U.S. driving season approaches.
Industry group American Petroleum Institute, in its own weekly data report released Tuesday, said domestic crude stocks rose 2.7 million barrels last week, while gasoline stocks fell 676,000 barrels and distillates dropped 2.8 million barrels.
(Reporting by Joshua Schneyer, Selam Gebrekidan, Janet McGurty and Edward McAllister; Editing by John Picinich)