(Crude inventory story updated for movement in major oil producer shares)
WASHINGTON D.C. (
) -- U.S. crude-oil inventories decreased by 1.5 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 25. The crude oil inventory decline was not as significant as the forecast 2.2 million barrel drop from the week ended Dec. 18.
U.S. refinery inputs averaged 13.9 million barrels per day during the week ended December 25 -- 102,000 barrels per day above the previous weeklyaverage.
NYMEX crude futures dropped on the inventory report to $78.79, a drop of 0.2%.
The major oil producers were a mixed bag on Wednesday morning after the crude inventory report -- fand even among the decliners, the oil producers were mirroring the slight drop in crude futures.
Royal Dutch Shell
were all down less than 1%.
were up marginally in late-morning trading.
Refineries operated at 80.3% of their operable capacity in the week ended Dec. 25, up marginally over the previous week.
U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8 million barrels per day last week, up 320,000 barrels per day over the previous week.
Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 7.9 million barrels per day, 1.6 million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year.
At 326 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.
Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 19.1 million barrels per day, down by 0.2% compared to the similar period last year.
Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.3 million barrels last week, defying the economists' expectation of a 900,000-barrel increase week over week.
Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 2 million barrels, on target with the economists' forecast.
-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.
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