Crude oil futures rebounded from early losses to move higher in afternoon trading in New York on Thursday in reaction to government data that indicated increased U.S. demand for gasoline at the kick-off of summer driving season.
Gasoline stocks fell by 1.5 million barrels in the week that ended on Friday, with the bulk of the drop in the densely-populated East Coast, the data showed.
Stronger gasoline futures led the crude complex higher even as U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed record high stocks of crude oil, analysts and brokers said.
"The build in crude was already in the market but the draw in gasoline helped," said Gene McGillian, an analyst with Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
U.S. crude stocks rose by 3.0 million barrels last week to their highest on record at 397.55 million barrels.
Brent crude initially rose in the wake of the data, but fell in mid-afternoon trading by 20 cents to steady above $102 a barrel, after falling earlier by as much as $1.35 a barrel. U.S. oil gained 50 cents to trade shy of $94, after falling to $91.65 a barrel earlier.