The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration reveals a mixed picture for crude oil and gasoline inventories. While crude oil stocks saw an unexpected increase, gasoline supplies rose as well. However, distillate fuel stocks experienced a decline.

Crude Oil Inventories

Commercial crude-oil stocks, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, rose by 1.2 million barrels to reach 421.9 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 26. This level stands about 5% below the five-year average for this time of year. Analysts surveyed had anticipated a decrease of 800,000 barrels, so the actual increase came as a surprise. In addition, storage in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) grew by 892,000 barrels, bringing the total to 357.4 million barrels.

Oil stored at Cushing, Okla., which is the Nymex delivery hub, saw a decline of 2 million barrels to 28.1 million barrels.

Refinery Capacity and Gasoline Supplies

Refineries reduced their capacity use, dropping from 85.5% to 82.9% compared to the previous week. Expectations had been for an increase of 1.7 percentage points.

Gasoline stockpiles, on the other hand, rose by 1.2 million barrels to reach 254.1 million barrels in the last week. This result falls slightly short of the anticipated build of 1.4 million barrels. Gasoline inventories are currently about 1% above their five-year average.

Distillate Fuel Stocks

Distillate stocks, which primarily include diesel fuel, experienced a decrease of 2.5 million barrels and now stand at 130.8 million barrels. This figure is approximately 5% below the five-year average. Expectations were for a smaller drawdown of 800,000 barrels.

Impact on Crude Futures

Following the release of this report, crude futures saw a decline. West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery dropped 2.1% to $76.19 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent decreased by 1.2% to $81.87 a barrel.


In summary, the recent data indicates an unexpected increase in U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories, along with a decrease in distillate fuel stocks. Meanwhile, refineries reduced their capacity use. These results have had a downward impact on crude futures prices.

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