Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crude Oil Price Above $75 at Record High

Crude rises after data show big drop in gasoline inventories

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Crude oil and gasoline futures rose Thursday after government data showed a surprisingly big drop in gasoline inventories as refineries cut production to the lowest level in more than a year.

Gasoline inventories fell by 5.2 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 9, the Energy Information Administration reported. Analysts polled by Platts had expected a modest build-up. Gasoline production fell to 8.45 million barrels a day last week, the lowest level since last September.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for November delivery rose 66 cents, or 0.9%, to $75.84 a barrel, after rising to a new one-year high of $76.27. November reformulated gasoline rose 3.85 cents, or 2.1%, to $1.8961 a gallon.

In the weekly update, the EIA also reported a build-up of 400,000 barrels in crude inventories.

Refineries used less crude oil in their fuel production, with crude input down 510,000 barrels a day from a week ago. That put refinery utilization rate at 80.9%, the lowest level since April.

Crude imports fell 367,000 barrels from a week ago. Inventories at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for Nymex crude futures, rose 400,000 barrels to 25.5 million.

Distillate inventories, which include diesel and heating oil fell 1.1 million barrels.

The EIA data also showed petroleum demand still remained week in the biggest consuming country, with gasoline demand falling to 9.26 million barrels a day, down slightly from a week ago.

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