EIA: US Crude Stockpiles Build Unexpectedly As Imports Jump


NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose unexpectedly last week as imports soared, while gasoline and distillate inventories fell more than expected, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories rose by 1.6 million barrels in the week to March 23, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 287,000 barrels.

Stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures rose by 1.8 million barrels, EIA said.

Net U.S. crude imports rose last week by 1.1 million barrels per day.

"It was a big import week, and they were up over a million barrels a day. So that’s where you get your build from," said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho.

Crude production also rose 26,000 bpd in the week, hitting a fresh record of 10.433 million bpd last week.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for May delivery fell 91 cents to $64.34 a barrel, a 1.4 percent loss, by 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 GMT).

June Brent crude futures were down 72 cents at $68.74 barrel while the May contract, which expires on Thursday, fell 59 cents to $69.52 a barrel, a 0.8 percent loss.

Refinery crude runs rose by 18,000 bpd and refinery utilization rates inched up 0.6 percentage point to 92.3 percent of total capacity, the EIA data showed..

Gasoline stocks fell by 3.5 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2 million-barrel drop.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.1 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.6 million-barrel drawdown, the EIA data showed.

(Reporting By Jessica Resnick-Ault Editing by Marguerita Choy)


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