Oil prices rose on Wednesday after U.S. crude inventories declined for the eighth straight week and a storm approached the Gulf Coast with the potential to disrupt oil and refined products output.
Brent crude futures climbed 58 cents to 52.45 dollars a barrel by 12:12 p.m. while United States West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading at 48.34 dollars, up 51 cents.
U.S. crude inventories fell 3.3 million barrels last week, compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 3.5 million barrels.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell 503,000 barrels, the Energy Information Administration said.
“Oil inventories continue their downward trend in spite of a significant increase in crude oil imports this week,” Andrew Lipow, President of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, said.
He said the market was shrugging off the inventory draws, which were approaching 75 million barrels since March, plus another 15 million from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
“It continues to wait to see more confirmation from around the world that inventories are indeed declining,” Lipow said.