Crude oil supplies increase by 2.2 million barrels

AP News
Posted: Jan 05, 2012 11:18 AM
Crude oil supplies increase by 2.2 million barrels

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

Crude supplies rose by 2.2 million barrels, or 0.7 percent, to 329.7 million barrels, which is 1.7 percent below year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a drop of 450,000 barrels for the week ended Dec. 30, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies increased by 2.5 million barrels, or 1.1 percent, to 220.2 million barrels. That was above analysts' expectations and 0.9 percent above year-ago levels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Dec. 30 was 4.9 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging about 8.8 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 85 percent of total capacity on average, a rise of 0.8 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to increase to 84.5 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 3.2 million barrels to 143.6 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to rise by 500,000 barrels.

The price of benchmark crude fell $1.7 to $102.17 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.