According to petroleum inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) U.S. crude oil inventories declined by 7.51 million barrels during the week that ended December 31, 2010.
Much of the inventory decline can be attributed to a decrease in crude oil import activity during the reporting period. Oil importers can delay delivery into the new calendar year for tax purposes. During the reporting period oil imports in the Gulf Coast were lower by 934,000 barrels per day.
U.S. crude oil inventories stand at 337.057 million barrels according to API data. This is an increase of 8.156 million barrels from the year ago period.
The API also reports that inventories of gasoline were higher by 5.6 million barrels, while inventories of distillate fuels increased by 2.1 million.
The EIA releases petroleum inventory data at 10:30 ET on Wednesday.