The Department of Energy released its weekly report on the condition of petroleum inventories in the United States today.

Here are some highlights:

Crude oil inventories increased by 0.4 million barrels to a total of 353.5 million barrels. At 353.5 million barrels, inventories are 10.8 million barrels above last year (3.1%) and remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma increased some 1,000,000 barrels to 37.1 million barrels this week. Supplies at Cushing have increased for the second time in a month, and are approaching record territory once again.

Gasoline inventories increased 1.1 million barrels to 222.2 million barrels. At 222.2 million barrels, inventories are now 6.8 million barrels, or 3.1% higher than last year (last week that number was 3.0% higher). Decreases in gasoline inventories were seen on the West Coast (-0.7mb) and the Rockies (-0.1mb). The Gulf Coast posted a gain (1.2mb) last week, along with the East Coast (0.5mb) and Midwest (0.2mb).

Distillate inventories increased by 3.9 million barrels to a total of 166.6 million barrels. At 166.6 million barrels, inventories are 3.8% higher than a year ago (A week ago that number was 2.1%). Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 9.0% over the last four weeks (this week the number finally dropped to single digits). Distillate inventories are now 6.1 million barrels above their year ago level.

Refinery utilization increased slightly to 91.5%, a rise of 1% over last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased last week to 9.3 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.5 million barrels per day, an increase over the prior week.

Refineries in the Midwest operated at the highest utilization- some 93.3% of capacity. Refiners on the East Coast came in second at 93.2%. Refiners on the West Coast dragged once again, but were up 1.3%, and again ran the lowest percent of available capacity at just 84.6%, certainly contributing to higher prices on the West Coast.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline in much of the U.S. was 836,000 barrels per day an increase of 15,000bbls/day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 7.7 million barrels (-0.7%) over last year and stand at 1.1176 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

This report was positive, showing almost no decreases in vital stockpiles. Hopefully, we'll see bullish enthusiasm return to the commodities boards.