US crude oil supplies grow by 3.9 million barrels

AP News
Posted: Dec 29, 2011 11:19 AM
US crude oil supplies grow by 3.9 million barrels

The nation's crude oil supplies rose last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies increased by 3.9 million barrels, or 1.2 percent, to 327.5 million barrels, which is 3.5 percent below year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a decline of 2.3 million barrels for the week ended Dec. 23, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies fell by 700,000 barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 217.7 million barrels. That's 1.3 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to shrink by 500,000 barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Dec. 23 was 5.6 percent lower than a year ago, averaging 8.8 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 84.2 percent of total capacity on average, 0.5 percentage point down from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to rise to 84.8 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, grew by 1.2 million barrels to 140.4 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 1.2 million barrels.

Benchmark crude fell $1 to $98.36 a barrel in New York.