US crude oil supplies down by 600,000 barrels

AP News

12/28/2012 1:04:51 PM - AP News

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's crude oil supplies fell last week, the government said Friday.

Crude supplies declined by 600,000 barrels, or 0.2 percent, to 371.1 million barrels, which is 13.3 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a drop of 2 million barrels for the week ended Dec. 21, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies rose by 3.8 million barrels, or 1.7 percent, to 223.1 million barrels. That's 2.5 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to increase by 250,000 barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Dec.21 was 2.8 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging 8.5 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 90.3 percent of total capacity on average, 1.2 percentage points down from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to increase to 91.6 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 2.4 million barrels to 119.4 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 350,000 barrels.

In afternoon trading benchmark crude futures fell 12 cents to $90.75 a barrel in New York.