Investing.com – U.S. crude oil inventories fell unexpectedly last week, the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Wednesday.
The EIA data showed that crude oil inventories fell by 3.86 million barrels in the week to March 8.
That was compared to forecasts for a stockpile build of 2.66 million barrels, after a surge of 7.07 million barrels in the previous week.
The EIA report also showed that gasoline inventories fell by 4.62 million barrels, compared to expectations for a draw of 2.53 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles increased unexpectedly by 0.38 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a decline of 1.86 million.
U.S. crude prices extended gains after the data release, rising 1.88% at $57.94 a barrel by 10:36 AM ET (14:36 GMT), compared to $57.81 prior to the publication.
London-traded Brent crude futures traded up 0.97% to $67.32 a barrel, compared to $67.13 ahead of the release.
Prior to the release, oil prices were climbing after news that the U.S. plans to implement further Venezuela-related sanctions that would be “very significant”, according to U.S. special envoy Elliott Abrams.
U.S. sanctions against oil exports from Caracas and fellow OPEC member Iran have contributed to a tightening market, while a power outage in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to deeper production cuts added to expectations for diminishing supply.
Venezuela suffers from a six-day blackout, its worst on record, which has left exports from its main oil terminal at a standstill.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said this week that its agreement with OPEC and allies led by Russia to cut output would likely last until at least June, while the kingdom also indicated Monday that it would cut exports in April.
Beyond Wednesday’s U.S. inventory data, investors await the publication of monthly oil market reports from both OPEC and the International Energy Agency on Thursday and Friday, respectively, as they seek to gauge the outlook for global supply and demand.