By Anthony Harrup

U.S. crude oil stocks fell sharply in a first withdrawal in five weeks while refineries increased their capacity use, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Commercial crude oil stocks excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve fell by 6.4 million barrels to 453.6 million barrels in the week ended April 19 and were about 3% below the five-year average for the time of year, the EIA said.

Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted crude stockpiles would increase by 500,000 barrels.

Stocks of gasoline fell from the previous week, and distillate fuels inventories increased.

Change in U.S. oil inventories for the week ended April 19: 
                   Crude       Gasoline      Distillates         Refinery Use 
EIA data:          -6.4          -0.6            1.6                  0.4 
Forecast:           0.5          -1.5           -1.0                  0.5 

Note: Numbers in millions of barrels, with the exception of refinery use, which is in percentage points.

Write to Anthony Harrup at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-24-24 1057ET