The US’ crude oil inventories showed a strong increase last week, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

Commercial crude oil inventories increased by 9 million barrels, or 1.7%, to 527.6 million barrels for the week ending April 24, the EIA data showed. The market expectation was a rise of 10.6 million barrels. Inventories rose by 15 million barrels during the previous week.

Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in the commercial crude stocks, increased by 1.2 million barrels, or 0.2%, to 636.1 million barrels last week, the data revealed.

Gasoline inventories, however, showed a decline of 3.7 million barrels, or 1.4%, to 259.6 million barrels over that period although the market expectation was an increase of 2.5 million barrels. Stocks rose by 1 million barrels during the previous week.

 Crude oil production down

The US’ crude oil imports increased by 365,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 5.3 million bpd for the week ending April 24, while crude oil exports saw a rise of 412,000 bpd to 3.3 million bpd, according to the EIA data.

The EIA data showed that crude oil production in the U.S. decreased by 101,000 bpd to approximately 12.1 million bpd for the week ending April 24. The US’ crude oil output reached an all-time high of 13.1 million bpd for the week ending Feb. 28.

The US’ crude oil production is expected to average 11.8 million bpd in 2020, according to the EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook report for April.

The country surpassed Saudi Arabia, and then Russia, in November 2018 to become the world’s biggest crude oil producer.

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