U.S. crude oil, gasoline and distillate stockpiles all rose last week, as refiners boosted output with more facilities coming back online following February’s devastating storms in Texas.
Crude inventories rose by 2.4 million barrels in the week to March 12, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 3 million barrels.
Overall stocks have been rising since February, as refiners shut down and have been slow to come back online in the wake of the storms, which knocked out power for millions and killed dozens of people.
Refinery crude runs rose by 1.1 million barrels per day, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 7.1 percentage points, boosting overall use to 76.1% of capacity.
“Clearly the refiners are making strides towards recovery,” said Tony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging. “I’d anticipate that trend continues for the next couple of weeks.”
Prices dipped on the news. U.S. crude was down 78 cents, or 1.2%, to $64.02 a barrel as of 10:53 a.m. ET (1453 GMT), while Brent was 85 cents lower at $67.54 a barrel.
Gasoline stocks rose by 472,000 barrels, compared with expectations for a 3 million-barrel drop. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 255,000 barrels, versus forecasts for a 3.4 million-barrel drop.
Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 219,000 barrels per day.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 624,000 barrels, EIA said.