Image courtesy of roy.luck/Wikimedia Commons.

U.S. crude inventories rose above 500 million barrels for the first time ever last week after a larger than expected gain.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total U.S. commercial crude oil inventories were 502.7 million barrels as of January 29 after adding 7.8 million barrels.

U.S. crude inventories now stand at 132 million barrels above the five-year average.

The crude stock jump also marks the first time that U.S. inventories have exceeded 500 million barrels, the EIA said.

Crude inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the West Texas Intermediate futures contract traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, stood at 64.17 million barrels last week, or 58 percent above the five-year average.

Total U.S. distillate inventories, including heating oil and diesel fuel, are now 22 million barrels above the five-year average at 159.69 million barrels.

U.S. motor gasoline inventories also passed historical highs last week after growing by 5.9 million barrels to 254.4 million barrels and now sit “well above the upper limit of the average range,” the EIA said.

Net crude oil imports climbed to about 7.51 million barrels as of January 29, up from 6.93 million during the same period last year.

The EIA added that, despite the supply gut, there is still “is still traditional, on-land storage space available” and there has been no information to indicate that “widespread amounts of crude oil being purchased for floating storage.”

West Texas Intermediate was trading at $33.13 per barrel near noon on Thursday as a weakening U.S. dollar helped offset concerns about growing inventories.


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