US crude oil supplies drop by 4.7 million barrels

AP News
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Posted: Oct 05, 2011 10:45 AM
US crude oil supplies drop by 4.7 million barrels

The nation's crude oil and gasoline supplies fell last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies shrank by 4.7 million barrels, or 1.4 percent, to 336.3 million barrels, which is 6.8 percent below year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 2.5 million barrels for the week ended Sept. 30, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies fell by 1.1 million barrels, or 0.5 percent, to 213.7 million barrels. That's 2.8 percent below year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to increase by 1.3 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Sept. 30 was 1.7 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging 8.9 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 87.7 percent of total capacity on average, 0.1 percentage point down from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to slip to 87.05 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 700,000 barrels to 156.9 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 500,000 barrels.

Benchmark crude prices rose $2.65, or 3.5 percent, to 78.32 per barrel in New York.