Oil prices rose on Wednesday, with U.S. crude topping $60 a barrel for the first time in about four months, after government data showed the American stockpiles of crude oil and refined fuels plunged last week.
WTI has rallied 32 percent this year after losing nearly half of its value in the final months of 2018. Brent is also up more than 27 percent year to date, boosted by production cuts from OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled 80 cents higher at $59.83 per barrel, after earlier topping $60 and hitting its highest level since Nov. 12. The more heavily traded WTI contract for May delivery peaked at $60.28 a barrel.
Brent crude futures rose 89 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $68.50 a barrel. The international benchmark for oil prices rose as high as $68.57, setting a new high going back to Nov. 13.
Crude stockpiles dropped by 9.6 million barrels in the week through March 15, the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That compared with an estimate for a buildup of 309,000 barrels in a Reuters survey of analysts.
Meanwhile gasoline inventories fell by 4.6 million barrels, nearly twice the decline expected in the Reuters poll. Stocks of distillates, including diesel and heating oil, dropped by 4.1 million barrels, almost four times bigger than the expected drawdown.
Overall, the EIA report was "pretty bullish," with gasoline demand rivaling consumption during peak season, said John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital.
"You've got to believe we're due for a Trump tweet at some point, but I think with demand, these drawdowns, and the refinery snags we've been having, it's kind of a bullish setup," he said.
President Donald Trump resumed his warnings for OPEC to tamp down oil prices in February, but has since held his fire despite the cost of crude ticking higher over the last month.