U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly surged last week as imports jumped and refineries maintained output, while gasoline and distillate inventories also rose sharply, data from the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.
Crude stocks rose by 7.3 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 2.3 million barrels. U.S. crude imports rose last week by 1.174 million barrels per day.
U.S. crude prices settled down $1.28 at $55.84 per barrel, after ending $1.86 higher in the previous session.
Brent for February delivery dropped $1.30 to $60, after settling up $1.58 on Tuesday.