By Dan Molinski

U.S. crude oil unexpectedly rose for the week ended Dec. 23, while gasoline supplies surprisingly fell, according to data released Thursday by the Energy Information Administration.

Crude-oil stockpiles increased by 614,000 barrels to 486.1 million barrels, which is near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, the EIA said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude supplies would fall by 1.4 million barrels on the week.

Oil stored at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for U.S. stocks, increased by 172,000 barrels to 66.4 million barrels, the EIA said in its weekly report.

Gasoline stockpiles decreased by 1.6 million barrels to 227.1 million barrels. Analysts were expecting gasoline inventories to rise by 400,000 barrels from the previous week.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, decreased by 1.9 million barrels to 151.6 million barrels, which is near the upper limit of the average range, the EIA said. Analysts were forecasting supplies to increase by 300,000 barrels from a week earlier.

Refining capacity utilization unexpectedly fell by a half a percentage point from the previous week to 91.0%. Analysts were expecting utilization levels to rise by 0.3 percentage point.

U.S. oil inventories for week ended Dec. 23:

Crude Gasoline Distillates Refinery Use

EIA data: +0.6 -1.6 -1.9 -0.5

Forecast: -1.4 +0.4 +0.3 +0.3

Write to Dan Molinski at dan.molinski at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 29, 2016 11:33 ET (16:33 GMT)

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