Crude Inventories in U.S. Fell a Second Week, Survey Says

U.S. crude supplies probably dropped for a second week as refineries increased operating rates to the highest level since July 2012, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Inventories decreased by 3 million barrels, or 0.8 percent, to 382.8 million in the week ended Dec. 6, based on the median of 10 analyst estimates before a report tomorrow from the Energy Information Administration. Nine of the respondents forecast a decline and one said there was a gain.

The refinery utilization rate rose to 92.9 percent from 92.4 percent the prior week, the survey showed. That would leave operating rates at the highest level since July 20, 2012, according to the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. Refineries have increased processing in three of the last four weekly reports.

“There’s a strong feeling that there will be another sizable draw in crude supplies,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy.

West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery rose $1.17, or 1.2 percent, to close at $98.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Today’s settlement was the highest since Oct. 28.

Crude inventories advanced to 391.4 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 22 as output reached 8.02 million a day, the most since January 1989, according to the EIA.

Fuel Supplies

Gasoline stockpiles probably increased 2 million barrels, or 0.9 percent, to 214.4 million last week. Nine respondents projected a gain and one forecast a decrease.

Inventories of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, climbed 1.55 million barrels, or 1.4 percent, to 115.1 million, the survey showed. Seven of the analysts forecast an increase and three a decline.

The EIA is scheduled to release its weekly petroleum report at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in Washington. The EIA said that the closure of federal government offices in Washington today because of snowy weather won’t impact tomorrow’s scheduled release of data.

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