Oil futures prices advanced Thursday, but there was no masking that the industry is still in deep trouble, analysts said.
Industry data released Wednesday indicates American refineries reversed the pattern of recent weeks and geared down their operations during the week ended July 4.
The American Petroleum Institute said the refineries were operating at 83% of capacity, down from 87.6% the previous week.
Stocks of gasoline and crude oil also declined, but this was regarded as essentially neutral in trading at the New York Mercantile Exchange, analysts said.
Despite the advance in futures prices, with the nearby oil contract up 48 cents a barrel, "the market is still fairly negative," said Richard Marose, an analyst in Chicago with Geldermann Inc.