By Dan Molinski

According to a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. crude-oil and refined fuel inventories are expected to experience modest declines in the upcoming Energy Department data release on Wednesday. The average of estimates from nine analysts and traders suggests that U.S. commercial crude-oil stockpiles will decrease by 600,000 barrels for the week ending on September 22. While six forecasters anticipate a decrease, three expect an increase. The projected range varies from a decline of 4 million barrels to an increase of 2.5 million barrels.

The highly anticipated inventory data from the DOE's Energy Information Administration is set to be released at 10:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

Analysts predict a decrease of 200,000 barrels in gasoline inventories compared to the previous week. Projections range from a decline of 2 million barrels to an increase of 1.7 million barrels.

Forecasts also indicate that stocks of distillates, which primarily consist of diesel fuel, are expected to decrease by 1 million barrels from the previous week. Predictions range from a decline of 2.6 million barrels to an increase of 1.1 million barrels.

Refinery use is likely to drop by 0.5 percentage point from the previous week, reaching 91.4%. Forecasts span from a decrease of 1 percentage point to an increase of 0.6 percentage point. Two analysts did not provide a forecast.

Here is a breakdown of the forecasts for refinery use:

| Refinery | Crude | Gasoline | Distillates | Use | |----------|-------|----------|-------------|-----| | Again Capital | -2.6 | 1.7 | 1.1 | 0.6 | | Commodity Research Group | -0.9 | 1.1 | 0.7 | -0.7 | | Confluence Investment Management | 2.5 | -0.5 | -2 | -1 | | DTN | -1.8 | 1.2 | -1.4 | -0.8 | | Spartan Capital Securities | 1.4 | -1.9 | -1.3 | n/f | | Mizuho | 2 | -1 | -1 | -0.7 | | Price Futures Group | -4 | -2 | -2 | -0.5 | | Ritterbusch and Associates | -1.5 | 0.4 | -2.6 | -0.4 | | Tradition Energy | -0.3 | -0.6 | -0.4 | n/f | | AVERAGE | -0.6 | -0.2 | -1.0 | -0.5 | (n/f = no forecast, unch = unchanged)

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