Crude oil prices climbed strongly on Wednesday after a higher than expected fall in US inventories according to the American Petroleum Institute (API).
The API figures showed that US crude stockpiles fell by three times more than expected - down 6.356 million barrels last week. Analysts had expected a drawdown of just 1.545 million barrels.
Gasoline stocks rise
Much of the drop was due to refinery throughput as gasoline inventories rose by more than expected - up 869,000 barrels during the week. Analysts had expected a rise of 737,000 barrels.
Nymex West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark crude contract, was up 1.51% to $57.59 a barrel. Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 0.85% to $63.10 a barrel.
EIA data awaited
The API data will be followed later on Wednesday by official data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) - widely seen as the more influential stock report.
Should the EIA data confirm the levels of crude drawdowns seen in the API numbers, then the current rally in oil prices is likely to be cemented and both WTI and Brent could close at their highest levels since mid-2015.