Commercial crude stockpiles keep rising

The nation’s record-high stockpile of commercial crude oil rose by another 1.6 million barrels last week, only partially offset by small draw downs in fuel inventories.

Gasoline stockpiles fell by 600,000 barrels, while inventories for distillate fuel oil, which is used to make diesel and heating oils, dipped by 500,000 barrels, according to weekly Energy Department data.

Industry analysts were anticipating more bullish inventory news this week. U.S. oil production has continued to rise in recent months, leading to record storage levels, and largely offsetting the global cutbacks made by Saudi Arabia and other Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

After pricing dips in March, the U.S. benchmark for crude oil has risen back above $51 a barrel, but rising inventory levels could make a dent.

Crude stockpile levels weren’t helped either by falling oil exports. The amount of crude shipped to other countries dipped week-to-week from 1 million barrels down to 575,000 barrels.