US crude oil supplies drop by 5.4 million barrels

AP News
Posted: Aug 22, 2012 10:40 AM
US crude oil supplies drop by 5.4 million barrels

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

Crude supplies declined by 5.4 million barrels, or 1.5 percent, to 360.7 million barrels, which is 2.6 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a decrease of 2 million barrels for the week ended Aug. 17, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies shrank by 1 million barrels, or 0.5 percent, to 202.7 million barrels. That's 4.1 percent below year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to fall by 1.25 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Aug. 17 was 1.7 percent less than a year earlier, averaging 9 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 91.2 percent of total capacity on average, down 1.4 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to be unchanged.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, increased by 1 million barrels to 125.2 million barrels. That matched analysts expectations.

Benchmark crude futures rose by 26 cents to 97.10 a barrel in New York.