Crude oil prices rose on Wednesday afternoon following data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) that showed stockpiles in the world's largest oil consumer fell more than expected last week.
Crude inventories fell by 3.4 million barrels in the week to 24 November, more than analysts' expectations of a 2.3 million-barrel decrease. At the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub, stocks were down 2.9 million barrels.
The data by the EIA were in contrast to the findings of the American Petroleum Institute (API), which on Tuesday reported a build in US inventories of 1.821 million barrels of crude.
When previewing the API data analysts had predicted a drawdown of 3.15 million - much closer to the actual findings of the EIA data on Wednesday.
The EIA reported refinery runs rose by 165,000 barrels per day last week and refinery utilisation rose by 1.3 percentage points.
This pushed gasoline stocks up by 3.6 million barrels, compared with a Reuters poll of analysts, where consensus forecasts were for a 1.2 million-barrel gain.