US crude oil supplies fell by 3.4 million barrels

AP News
Posted: Jan 19, 2012 11:28 AM
US crude oil supplies fell by 3.4 million barrels

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

Crude supplies declined by 3.4 million barrels, or 1 percent, to 331.2 million barrels, which is 1.3 percent below year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 2.6 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 13, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies rose by 3.7 million barrels, or 1.7 percent, to 227.5 million barrels. That's 0.1 percent lower than year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to increase by 3 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Jan. 13 was 6.1 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging 8.4 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 83.7 percent of total capacity on average, down 1.9 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to fall to 85.4 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 400,000 barrels to 148 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to grow by 1.4 million barrels.

Benchmark crude rose 46 cents to $101.05 a barrel in New York.