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The Energy Information Administration (EIA), the reporting division of the US Energy Department, said today that crude oil inventories rose 68,000 barrels last week to 362.4 million, a smaller rise than had been expected by analysts polled by Bloomberg.
Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma – important to the oil market as it is the price settlement point for WTI futures – fell 1.08 million barrels, a further sign that the operation of the southern section of the Keystone XL pipeline is helping to reduce the Cushing glut.
With TransCanada intending to increase the rate of flow through the pipeline by more than twofold throughout the course of the year, this trend for drawdowns at Cushing is expected to continue.
By mid-afternoon in New York, crude oil futures for April were trading up 0.78% at $102.66 a barrel.
Refineries operated last week at 88% of capacity, the highest rate in four weeks, yet gasoline inventories declined, falling 2.81 million barrels, in excess of the 1.25 million drop expected by a Bloomberg survey.