US commercial crude oil inventories decreased last week in line with the market expectation, according to data released by the country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday.

Commercial crude oil inventories in the US fell by 7.4 million barrels, or 1.4%, to 518.6 million barrels for the week ending July 31, the data showed. The market expectation was a decrease of 3 million barrels.

Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in the commercial crude stocks, remained unchanged at 656.1 million barrels for the week ending July 31, the data revealed.

Gasoline inventories, however, increased by 0.4 million barrels, or 0.2%, to 247.8 million barrels over that period.

Crude production decreases

US crude oil imports increased by 864,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 6.0 million bpd for the week ending July 31, however crude oil exports fell by 392,000 bpd to 2.8 million bpd, according to the EIA data.

The data showed that US crude oil production decreased by 100,000 bpd to approximately 11 million bpd for the week ending July 31.

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.

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