U.S. oil futures rose as much as 4 percent on Wednesday, underpinned by an unexpectedly large fall in U.S. crude inventories, but were still close to multi-year lows as supplies remained abundant and as OPEC lowered the demand outlook for its exports.
The data surprise prompted crude futures for both U.S. West Texas Intermediate and global Brent to rise to a session high.
The Energy Information Administration reported crude inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 1.1 million barrels. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 2 million barrels, EIA said.
Baker Hughes also released data showing U.S. oil rigs falling by three. Oil rigs in the U.S. now total 538, but are still down 961 from a year ago.
Earlier data published by industry group the American Petroleum Institute had suggested U.S. crude inventories fell by 3.6 million barrels last week to 486.7 million.
Meanwhile, gasoline stocks rose by 1.1 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.4 million barrels gain. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 661,000 barrels, versus expectations for a 2.0 million barrels increase, the EIA data showed.