NEW YORK (Dispatches) - Oil prices rose more than 2% as U.S. crude stocks fell last week as refineries hiked output, while gasoline stocks decreased and distillate inventories rose, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed $1.90 to $59.73. Brent crude futures were up $1.98 at $66.03.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said U.S. crude inventories decreased by 9.5 million barrels from the previous week, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 3.1 million barrels.
Earlier, data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday showed U.S. crude inventories fell by 8.1 million barrels in the week to July 5 to 461.4 million, compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 3.1 million barrels.
Major oil companies began evacuating and shutting in production in the Gulf of Mexico after weather forecasts warned that a tropical disturbance might become a storm on Wednesday or Thursday.
"For all the doom-mongering on the demand front, oil prices are getting a much-needed kick up the backside this morning courtesy of Mother Nature,” said Stephen Brennock, an analyst with PVM.
Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and BHP Group are removing staff from 15 offshore energy platforms. Exxon Mobil said it was "closely monitoring” the disturbance to determine if its facilities might be affected.
The Gulf of Mexico is home to 17% of U.S. crude oil output which stands at around 12 million barrels per day (bpd).
The U.S. and global benchmarks have gained this year as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and big producers such as Russia have curbed output to bolster prices.