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 decreased by 5.2 million barrels to a total of 349.8 million barrels. At 349.8 million barrels, inventories are 5.2 million barrels below last year (-1.5%) and are above average. Supply at NYMEX delivery point, Cushing, Oklahoma fell 1.4 million barrels to 34.6 million barrels this week.

Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels to 213.6 million barrels. At 213.6 million barrels, inventories are now 9.8 million barrels, or 4.4% lower than last year (last week that number was 3.5% lower). Regions posting gains in inventories last week were the Rockies (+0.1mb) and the West Coast (+0.3mb). Decreases were seen on the East Coast (-0.0mb), the Midwest (-2.3mb), and the Gulf Coast (-0.6mb).

Distillate inventories decreased by 0.7 million barrels to a total of 151.5 million barrels. At 151.5 million barrels, inventories are now 12.5% lower than a year ago. Supply of distillate fuel (diesel, industrial fuels) is up an average of 7.1% over the last four weeks (last week the number was 1.7% higher than last year). Distillate inventories are 21.6 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

Refinery utilization hit 90.0%, a rise of 0.7% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production increased last week to 9.5 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production averaged 4.5 million barrels per day, a slight decrease over the prior week.

Refineries in the Midwest PADD operated at the highest utilization- some 93.9% of capacity. Refiners in the Gulf Coast PADD came in second at 90.0% while refiners in the Rockies PADD came in third with 89.0%. 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 88.6% of their capacity while East Coast plants ran 83.0% of their available capacity.

Production of fuel ethanol, a key ingredient in gasoline- increased 30,000bpd to 908,000 barrels per day.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down 45.6 million barrels (4.2%) over last year and stand at 1.0794 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

It is notable that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve continues to drop, declining 2.5 million barrels to 717.3 million barrels from its peak at 726.5 million barrels.