The US’ commercial crude oil stocks vastly increased last week against the market expectation of a decline, according to data released by the country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday.

Commercial crude oil inventories in the US increased by 7.9 million barrels, or 1.5%, to 534.4 million barrels for the week ending May 22, the data showed. The market expectation was a decline of 1.9 million barrels. Inventories decreased by 5 million barrels during the previous week.

With that result, commercial crude oil stocks marked the first weekly increase after two consecutive weeks of declines.

Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in the commercial crude stocks, increased by 2.1 million barrels, or 0.3%, to 643.8 million barrels for the week ending May 22, the data revealed.

Gasoline inventories, however, fell by 0.7 million barrels, or 0.3%, to 255 million barrels over that period, despite the market expectation of an increase of 0.1 million barrels. The previous week saw gasoline stocks rise by 2.8 million barrels.

The US’ crude oil imports soared by 2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 7.2 million bpd for the week ending May 22, but crude oil exports declined by 63,000 bpd to 3.17 million bpd, according to the EIA data.

Crude oil production down

The data showed that US crude oil production decreased by 111,000 bpd to approximately 11.4 million bpd for the week ending May 22. The US’ crude oil output reached an all-time high of 13.1 million bpd for the week ending Feb. 28.

Crude oil production is expected to average 11.7 million bpd in 2020, according to the EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook report for May.

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

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