Commercial crude oil inventories in the US decreased by 0.3% for the week ending Sept. 18, according to data released by the country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

Inventories fell by 1.6 million barrels to 494.4 million barrels against the market expectation of a 2.3 million-barrel rise.

Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in the commercial crude stocks, fell to 645 million barrels for the week ending Sept. 18, the data showed.

Gasoline inventories also dropped by 4 million barrels, or 1.7%, to 227.5 million barrels over that period.

Crude production decreases

According to EIA data, US crude oil imports increased by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) to around 5.16 million bpd for the week ending Sept. 18. while crude oil exports saw an increase of 427,000 bpd to 3 million bpd.

The data showed that US crude oil production declined by 253,000 bpd to approximately 11.1 million bpd during the same period.

US crude output is now estimated at 11.4 million bpd in 2020 and 11.1 million bpd in 2021, down from 12.2 million bpd in 2019, according to the EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook forecast for September.

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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