US crude oil supplies grow by million barrels

AP News
Posted: Jan 09, 2013 11:09 AM

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

Crude inventories increased by 1.3 million barrels, or 0.4 percent, to 359.9 million barrels, which is 8 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 1.5 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 4, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Supplies at the important Cushing, Okla., hub for domestic crude continued to rise to record highs more than 72 percent above year-ago levels.

Imports were up and domestic oil production topped 7 million barrels a day. It hasn't been that high since the 1990s.

Gasoline supplies grew by 7.4 million barrels, or 3.3 percent, to 233.1 million barrels. That's 4.1 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to rise by 2.6 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Jan. 4 was 2.3 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging 8.4 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 89.1 percent of total capacity on average, down 1.3 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to grow to 90.7 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 6.8 million barrels to 130.7 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to grow by 1.5 million barrels.

Benchmark crude futures fell by 18 cents to $92.97 a barrel in New York.