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 2.3 million barrels to a total of 354.0 million barrels. At 354.0 million barrels, inventories are 6.7 million barrels below last year (-1.9%) and are well above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma rose 0.4 million barrels to 37.1 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories increased by 1.0 million barrels to 213.5 million barrels. At 213.5 million barrels, inventories are now 8.8 million barrels, or 3.9% lower than last year (last week that number was 4.4% lower). Regions posting gains in inventories last week were the East Coast (+0.2mb), the Midwest (+1.3mb), and the West Coast (+0.7mb). Decreases were seen on the Gulf Coast (-1.0mb) and the Rockies (-0.1mb).

Distillate inventories increased by 3.4 million barrels to a total of 151.8 million barrels. At 151.8 million barrels, inventories are now 9.4% lower than a year ago. Supply of distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is down an average of 3.5% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 2.5% lower than last year). Distillate inventories are 15.7 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization fell to 88.3%, a drop of 2.0% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased last week to 9.2 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.6 million barrels per day, a slight decrease over the prior week.

Refineries in the Midwest PADD operated at the highest utilization- some 95.6% of capacity. Refiners in the Rockies PADD came in second at 89.2% while refiners in the Gulf Coast PADD came in third with 87.3%. East Coast refiners took the position of utilizing the lowest percentage of their plants last week, edging out the West Coast. West Coast plants ran at 86.9% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 79.6% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- increased 1,000bpd to 874,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 33.7 million barrels (3.0%) over last year and stand at 1.0851 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

It is notable that for the first time in years, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has started to drop, declining 2.3 million barrels to drop to 724.3 million barrels from its peak at 726.5 million barrels.