April 18, 2012 / 3:33 PM / in 5 years

Crude stocks rise for 4th week, products fall

(Reuters) - Crude oil inventories rose for a fourth straight week, led by gains on the West Coast, while product stockpiles showed steep declines, data from the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.

Domestic crude stocks rose 3.86 million barrels in the week to April 13, increasing the 4-week build to nearly 22.8 million barrels to mark its biggest since February 2009. The average forecast had been for a rise of 1.4 million barrels in a Reuters survey of analysts.

While much of the build in crude inventories over the last month had been in the Gulf Coast, due to a rebound of imports following fog delays in Texas, last week’s build was concentrated on the West Coast. Crude stockpiles in the region rose 3.38 million barrels.

Stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for the New York Mercantile Exchange crude contract rose 592,000 barrels to 41.18 million barrels, the highest level since May 2011.

Gasoline inventories fell 3.67 million barrels to 213.97 million barrels, marking the ninth straight weekly fall. During that time. stocks have dropped by 18.23 million barrels, or 7.8 percent. Inventories of gasoline on the East Coast, facing a possible shortfall this summer due to the threatened shutdown of three refineries, fell by 2.3 million barrels.

Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel, dropped 2.91 million barrels to 128.98 million barrels, far more than analysts’ predictions for a 200,000-barrel decline.

Refinery utilization rose 0.8 percentage point to 84.6 percent of capacity, compared with forecasts for an increase of 0.7 percentage point.

NYMEX crude oil prices was down 64 cents at $103.56 a barrel at 10:55 a.m. EDT (1455 GMT).

Reporting by Matthew Robinson in New York; Editing by John Picinich

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