US crude oil supplies drop by 1.5 million barrels

Energy Department says US crude oil and gasoline supplies fell last week

Associated Press

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

Crude supplies fell by 1.5 million barrels, or 0.4 percent, to 374.5 million barrels, which is 13.2 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 1 million barrels for the week ended Nov. 16, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies dropped by 1.5 million barrels, or 0.8 percent, to 200.4 million barrels. That's 4.4 percent lower than year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to grow by 1.25 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Nov. 16 was 1.6 percent higher than a year earlier, averaging 8.7 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 87.5 percent of total capacity on average, up 1.5 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to increase to 86.7 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.7 million barrels to 112.8 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 1 million barrels.

Benchmark crude rose 74 cents to $87.49 a barrel in New York.

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