U.S. Oil Stocks Drop for First Time in 9 Weeks

 
on March 20 2013 12:02 PM
oil
Colombia disputes Nicaragua's claim to certain areas in the Caribbean where it wants to promote oil exploration. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories fell for the first time in nine weeks, though supplies remain "well-above the upper limit of the average range" for this time of year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Nationwide crude supplies, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, totaled 382.7 million barrels during the week ended March 15, down 0.3% from the previous week, the administration said March 20 in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report.

The previous week, crude inventories reached the highest levels since the 387.2 million barrels on hand in June. As of March 15, stockpiles were up 10.5% from a year ago.

Total motor gasoline inventories fell 0.7% to 222.8 million barrels, down 1.8% from a year ago but still in the "middle of the average range." Distillate fuel inventories declined 0.6% to 119.8 million barrels, 12% below year-earlier levels.

At U.S. refineries, crude oil inputs averaged 14.51 million barrels per day during the week, up 3.7% from the previous week and up 1% from a year ago. Refineries ran at 83.5% of operable capacity, up from 81% the previous week and 82.2% a year ago.

Finished gasoline production fell 4.4%, averaging about 8.56 million barrels per day, while distillate production rose 2.6%, averaging 4.27 million barrels per day.

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