Weekly reports from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), released on December 19th and 20th showed sharp increases of crude and gasoline stocks, helping send prices of U.S. benchmark crude West Texas Intermediate (WTI) to eight-month lows of $27.20 a barrel at mid-day on December 20th.
The API report found crude stocks building 2.41 million barrels to 289.08 million barrels, down 5.85 million barrels from the same period in 1999. Gasoline stocks gained 797,000 barrels to 199.14 million barrels, up 6.14 million barrels from the previous year.
Distillates dropped 891,000 barrels to 116.51 million barrels, down 13.59 million barrels from a year ago.
The API found refinery utilization for the week ended December 15th of 93.4 percent, down from 94.3 percent the previous week.
The EIA report showed crude inventories climbing 3.1 million barrels to 291.8 million barrels, up 300,000 barrels from the same period in 1999.
Gasoline stocks rose 2.4 million barrels to 199 million barrels, up 1 million barrels from the previous year.
Distillates increased 900,000 barrels to 116.2 million barrels, down 18 million barrels from a year ago. Heating oil inventories grew by 800,000 barrels to 48.1 million barrels, down 15.2 million barrels from 1999.
The EIA report showed refinery utilization for the week of 94.3 percent, up slightly from 94.2 percent the previous week.