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US oil stockpiles hit record amid production boom

US commercial oil stockpiles hit a new record last week on the strength of continued growth in oil and gas production in the world's biggest oil-consuming country.

Commercial stocks rose 3.5 million barrels to 397.7 million barrels for the week ended April 18, according to US Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday.

That is the highest level of inventories since the EIA began releasing weekly data in 1982. It is highest level of commercial stocks since 1931, according to monthly data kept by the agency.

"It's a real renaissance for the US oil production industry," said John Kilduff, founding partner at Again Capital.

Domestic oil production has risen to 8.4 million barrels per day compared with 7.3 million a year ago, driven by new production from oil shale deposits.

Kilduff said infrastructure for storing crude in the US Gulf Coast refining and distribution hub is nearing capacity.

"We're approaching capacity and it should at some point reverberate through the international market," Kilduff said.

If the Gulf Coast reaches the limit of its storage capacity, that would prevent the US from accepting additional imports. As a result, crude shipments could be displaced onto the international market, likely resulting in lower oil prices, Kilduff said.

Kilduff said the lofty state of US stockpiles was offset by declining inventories in the closely-watched Cushing, Oklahoma hub.

He also cited the unpredictability of key international suppliers, such as Libya, as a bullish factor for oil prices.

Near 1545 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for June delivery advanced six cents to $101.81 a barrel.

European benchmark Brent oil for June delivery fell 38 cents to $108.89 a barrel.