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U.S. commercial crude stocks build, SPR posts record drawdown as refiners ramp up

(Reuters) - U.S. commercial crude oil inventories rose unexpectedly last week, while crude in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve fell by a record amount as refiners ramped up production to pre-pandemic levels, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories rose by 2 MM barrels in the week to June 3 to 416.8 MM barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.9 MM-barrel drop.

SPR crude stocks fell by a record 7.3 MM barrels to 519.3 MM, their lowest since March 1987.

Refinery crude runs rose by 354,000 barrels per day to 16.4 MMbpd, their highest since January 2020, and utilization rates jumped by 1.6 percentage points to 94.2% of capacity, their highest since December 2019, the EIA said. On the East Coast, utilization rose to 99.2%, its highest since November 2017.

"The commercial crude build is in part due to inventory shifts from the drawdowns in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but those inventories continue to move aggressively lower and that's the expectation for the next several months," said Tony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging.

"That's a bullish consideration."

Brent and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures (WTI) rose immediately following the data release, along with gasoline and distillate futures.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for WTI fell by 1.6 MM barrels last week, EIA said.

U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 800,000 barrels in the week to 218.2 MM barrels, the EIA said, compared with analysts' expectations for a 1.1 MM-barrel rise.​

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 2.6 MM barrels in the week to 109 MM barrels, more than double forecasts for a 1.1 MM-barrel rise, the EIA data showed.

Net U.S. crude imports rose by 1.69 MMbpd, EIA said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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