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 declined by 8.65 million barrels in the week to Feb. 22.
That was compared to forecasts for a stockpile build of 2.84 million barrels after a gain of 3.67 million barrels in the previous week.
The EIA report also showed that gasoline inventories fell by 1.91 million barrels, compared to expectations for a draw of 1.69 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles decreased by 0.3 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a decline of 1.95 million.
U.S. crude prices extended gains immediately after the data release, rising 2.49% at $56.88 a barrel by 10:34 AM ET (15:34 GMT), compared to $56.40 prior to the publication.
London-traded Brent crude futures gained 1.62% to $66.42 a barrel, compared to $65.90 ahead of the release.
Crude has rallied more than 20% this year, its best start since 1984, according to Dow Jones Market Data, amid indications that OPEC-led output cuts have helped tighten an oversupplied market, while Wednesday’s strong rise came as Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih shrugged off a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump requesting that oil producers relax their efforts to boost oil prices.
"Crude oil futures bounced as OPEC members remained firm on planned production cuts despite heightened political pressure from U.S. President Trump early this week," said Benjamin Lu of Singapore-based brokerage Phillip Futures.
Trump tweeted on Monday: “Oil prices getting too high. OPEC, please relax and take it easy. World cannot take a price hike - fragile!”
Al-Falih insisted that they were “taking it easy” and added that current analysis indicated OPEC and its allies may need to extend its agreement to curb output until the end of 2019.
“We are only in February, so it is difficult for me to predict where we will be in June when the current interim agreement runs out,” Falih said.
-- Reuters contributed to this report