EIA: Crude stockpiles up 7.3 million barrels last week
Prices for crude oil were down again Wednesday after the US Energy Information Administration reported in its weekly inventories survey that stockpiles of crude were up unexpectedly last week.
The EIA said that crude oil inventories added 7.3 million barrels last week, against an expected decline of 2.3 million barrels, to a total of 360.8 million barrels in storage, 12.9 million barrels more than were in storage during the same week last year.
Gasoline and distillates stockpiles were also higher, but not by as much as had been anticipated as gasoline inventories were up by 100,000 barrels rather than the 1.1 million barrel rise expected and distillates stockpiles added 900,000 barrels when a gain of 1.8 million barrels had been expected.
Still, that left gasoline stockpiles 9.2 million barrels higher than in the same week last year, while distillates in storage were 4.9 million barrels above last year’s levels.
September contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude were down 58 cents to $76.92 per barrel in early afternoon trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude was down 19 cents to $75.94 per barrel most recently on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
Some analysts were worried about the big increase in crude oil stockpiles since they came at a time when some production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut down as a precaution ahead of Tropical Storm Bonnie, and some raised the possibility that gains during such a time could lead to a decline in prices.
Nymex August gasoline futures were down a cent to $2.05 per gallon while August heating oil futures dropped less than a cent to $1.99 per gallon, but continuing hot weather in much of the US sent natural gas futures 13 cents higher to $4.81 per million British thermal units as many Americans turned on their air conditioners to cool off.
The retail price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was up slightly overnight to $2.745 per gallon on average nationally.
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