Commercial crude oil inventories in the US fell more than expected for the week ending Aug. 21, by 4.7 million barrels, or 0.9%, to 507.8 million barrels, about 15% above the five-year average for this time of year, according to data released by the country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday.

The market expectation was a fall of 3.7 million barrels.

Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in the commercial crude stocks, fell to 649.5 million barrels for the week ending Aug. 21, the data said.

Gasoline inventories also fell by 4.6 million barrels, or 1.9%, to 239.2 million barrels over that period.

Crude production up

US crude oil imports rose 185,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 5.916 million bpd for the week ending Aug. 21. However, crude oil exports climbed 1.226 million bpd to 3.363 million bpd, according to the EIA.

The data showed that US crude oil production rose 103,000 bpd to approximately 11,242 million bpd for the same period.

US crude oil production is estimated to decrease by 370,000 barrel per day (bpd) from the previous Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), according to the EIA’s August STEO.

The EIA forecast that crude output would average 11.3 million bpd in 2020 and 11.1 million bpd in 2021, down from 12.2 million bpd in 2019.

In November 2018, the US first surpassed Saudi Arabia and then Russia to become the world’s biggest crude oil producer.

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