By Stephanie Kelly
NEW YORK, Nov 29 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil, gasoline and distillate inventories rose last week, as refiners ramped up output despite lackluster fuel demand, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude inventories USOILC=ECI rose by 1.6 million barrels in the week to Nov. 17 to 449.7 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 933,000-barrel drop.
Crude stockpiles on the East Coast rose to 10.2 million barrels, their highest since January 2021, the data showed.
Refinery crude runs USOICR=ECI rose by 518,000 barrels per day last week, while refinery utilization rates USOIRU=ECI rose by 2.8 percentage points to 89.8% of total capacity.
"We are seeing the return of refinery capacity as the maintenance season ends as utilization jumped nearly three percentage points and that is adding to the supply situation at a time of year where demand is relatively weak," said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates.
The Thanksgiving Day holiday last week contributed to a drop in fuel demand, analysts said.
Despite the inventory builds, Brent LCOc1 and West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 gained after the EIA data and prices last traded at $81.91 a barrel and $76.70 a barrel, respectively.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub USOICC=ECI rose by 1.9 million barrels in the week, EIA said.
Gasoline stocks USOILG=ECI rose by 1.8 million barrels to 218.2 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with analysts' expectations for a 229,000-barrel rise.
Distillate stockpiles USOILD=ECI, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 5.2 million barrels in the week to 110.8 million barrels, versus forecasts for a 394,000-barrel drop.
Net U.S. crude imports USOICI=ECI fell last week by 665,000 bpd, EIA said.
(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly Editing by Marguerita Choy)
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.