US commercial crude oil inventories decreased massively last week against the market expectation of an increase, according to data released by the country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

Commercial crude oil inventories in the US fell by 10.6 million barrels, or 2%, to 526 million barrels for the week ending July 24, the data showed. The market expectation was an increase of 0.3 million barrels. Inventories rose by 4.9 million barrels during the previous week.

Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in the commercial crude stocks, remained unchanged at 656.1 million barrels for the week ending July 24, the data revealed.

Gasoline inventories, however, increased by 0.7 million barrels, or 0.3%, to 247.4 million barrels over that period. The market expectation was a decline of 0.7 million barrels. The previous week saw gasoline stocks decrease by 1.8 million barrels.

– Crude production rises

US crude oil imports decreased by 794,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 5.14 million bpd for the week ending July 24, however crude oil exports rose by 218,000 bpd to 3.21 million bpd, according to the EIA data.

The data showed that US crude oil production increased by 87,000 bpd to approximately 11.1 million bpd for the week ending July 24. Crude oil output reached an all-time high of 13.1 million bpd for the week ending Feb. 28.

Crude production is expected to average 11.6 million bpd in 2020, according to the EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook report for July.

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

By Ovunc Kutlu

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