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 5.0 million barrels to a total of 366.2 million barrels. At 366.2 million barrels, inventories are 26.4 million barrels above last year (7.8%) and remain above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma decreased 0.3 million barrels to 33.7brr million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories decreased 4.4 million barrels to 214.9 million barrels. At 214.9 million barrels, inventories are now 6.4 million barrels, or 3.1% higher than last year (last week that number was 6.0% higher). Decreases were seen in every PADD district: East Coast (-0.9mb), the West Coast (-0.9mb), the Midwest (-1.5mb), the Gulf Coast (-0.6mb), and the Rockies (-0.4mb).

Distillate inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels to a total of 168.4 million barrels. At 168.4 million barrels, inventories are just 0.4% higher than a year ago. Demand for distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 8.7% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 9.3%). Distillate inventories are now 0.7 million barrels above their year ago level.

Refinery utilization increased to 83.7%, a rise of 1.2% vs. last week's numbers. This is likely due to refiners concluding maintenance before the winter heating season- I expect utlization to increase again next week. Gasoline production increased last week to 9.2 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.4 million barrels per day, an increase over the prior week.

Refineries on the Gulf Coast operated at the highest utilization- some 87.7% of capacity. Refiners in the Midwest came in second at 84.9% while refiners in the Rockies came in third with 84.9%. East Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants again last week, edging out the West Coast. West Coast plants ran at 82.3% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran just 58.8% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- decreased 1,000bpd to 880,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are now up 35.2 million barrels (3.2%) over last year and stand at 1.1328 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).