US October Crude Imports Up 5.7% Over Year Ago

NEW YORK (Dow Jones Newswires), Dec. 29, 2011

U.S. crude oil imports rose 5.7 percent in October from a year ago to 9.029 million barrels a day, data released Thursday by the Energy Information Administration show.

Imports were up 23,000 barrels a day from September. Crude imports were the highest in October since 2008.

Supplies from Canada, the top supplier to the U.S. since March 2006, rose 23 percent from a year ago to 2.271 million barrels a day. Canada's share of total U.S. crude imports stood at 25 percent.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter and de facto leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, was the second-biggest crude supplier in the month. Volume fell to 1.120 million barrels a day.

Third-place Mexico shipped its lowest crude volume since April.

Imports from Persian Gulf suppliers fell 6 percent in the month, to 1.902 million barrels a day.

Crude imports from OPEC averaged 4.044 million barrels a day, up 0.3 percent from September and up 1.4 percent from a year ago.

Crude Oil Stockpiles Rise, Defying Expectations

U.S. crude inventories rose last week while analysts expected them to fall, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Crude oil stockpiles rose 3.9 million barrels to 327.5 million barrels, compared with an average survey estimate of a drop of 2.2 million barrels. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, reported a 9.6 million barrel build in its weekly report released late Wednesday.

Both sets of data were released a day late because of the holiday week. Oil futures moved lower on the news, down 70 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $98.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gasoline futures also fell, but heating oil futures were up.

Gasoline stockpiles fell 692,000 barrels to 217.7 million barrels, the department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report, compared with a 500,000 drop forecast in a Dow Jones Newswires survey of analysts.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, rose 1.2 million barrels to 140.4 million barrels, compared with analysts' forecast of a 1 million barrel drop.

Refining capacity utilization fell 0.7 percentage point to 84.2 percent. Analysts had expected utilization to remain unchanged.

API pegged refinery utilization at 83.3 percent last week, up 0.2 percentage point. The industry group reported that showed that stockpiles of gasoline rose 1.9 million barrels and distillates rose by 600,000 barrels.

U.S. Oil Inventories
For week Ended Dec. 23
  Crude Distillates Gasoline Refinery Use
EIA Data +3.9 +1.2 -0.7 -0.7
Forecast -2.2 -1.0 -0.5 Unchanged

Figures in millions of barrels, except for refining use, which is reported in percentage points. Forecasts are the average of expectations in a Dow Jones Newswires survey of analysts earlier in the week.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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