Oil prices pared losses on Thursday after the Energy Department reported a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. inventories and a falloff in weekly production.
The market was still under pressure, though, from a bearish outlook by the International Energy Agency, which lowered its forecast for oil demand for 2018.
Oil has strengthened in recent weeks due to a sharp drawdown in distillates, feeding expectations for renewed demand, but it is unclear whether U.S. crude prices will regain the high of nearly $53 a barrel reached in late September.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures ended Thursday's session down 70 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $50.60 per barrel. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were down 62 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $56.32 by 2:24 p.m.
Both contracts have rallied in the last three sessions following last week's sharp losses.