U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell for a fourth straight week with the biggest slump in supplies at the Cushing, Okla., hub in eight years, even as crude output hit another weekly record, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Dec. 13.
Gasoline inventories, meanwhile, soared far more than expected, even as refining rates slipped.
Crude inventories fell 5.1 million barrels (bbl) in the week to Dec. 8, compared with analysts' expectations for an decrease of 3.8 million bbl. At 443 million bbl, stocks were the lowest since October 2015.
The EIA said crude stocks at the Cushing delivery hub for U.S. crude futures fell 3.3 million bbl—the largest one-week draw since September 2009.
Cushing stocks have dropped in recent weeks after last month's closure of the 590,000 bbl/d Keystone pipeline following a leak in South Dakota. The line, one of Canada's main crude export routes linking Alberta to U.S. refineries, is open again but running at reduced rates, which is still affecting current levels at the country's main storage hub.
"We continue to see the impact of the [reduced capacity] of the Keystone pipeline that affected supplies into Cushing and is expected to continue to do so for the next several weeks," said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.
Lipow said foggy conditions in Houston, a seasonal issue for that city's shipping channel, affected crude imports as well.
U.S. crude imports rose 433,000 bbl/d last week.
Crude production in the U.S.s rose to 9.78 million bbl/d, another weekly record. The monthly U.S. crude output record is 10.04 million bbl/d, set in November 1970.
After the data, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures was trading 3 cents lower at $57.11/bbl, while Brent crude was down 20 cents to $63.14/bbl.
"The report is modestly supportive on the large crude oil inventory decline. That decline was offset mightily by the large increase in gasoline inventories," said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital LLC in New York.
Gasoline stocks rose by 5.7 million bbl, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.5 million-bbl gain.
Refinery crude runs fell by 243,000 bbl/d as utilization rates slipped 0.4 percentage point to 93.4% of total capacity, EIA data showed.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell 1.4 million bbl, vs. expectations for a 902,000-bbl increase, the EIA data showed.