Investing.com – Crude prices extended gains on Wednesday, after data showed that U.S. oil stockpiles fell much more than expected last week.
U.S. benchmark oil, August was up 98 cents, or roughly 1.5%, at $65.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange by 10:35AM ET (1435GMT). Prices were at around $65.64 prior to the release of the inventory data.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that crude oil inventories fell by in the week ended June 15.
That compared with analysts’ expectations for a decline of 2.1 million barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported a supply-drop of 3.0 million barrels.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 426.5 million barrels as of last week.
Domestic oil production- driven by shale extraction – held steady at an all-time high of 10.9 million barrels per day last week. Only Russia currently produces more, at around 11 million bpd.
The report also showed that gasoline inventories increased by , compared to expectations for a much more modest gain of 188,000 barrels. For distillate inventories including diesel, the EIA reported a rise of .
Elsewhere, August , the global benchmark, tacked on 39 cents, or around 0.5%, to $75.45 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Oil traders continued to weigh .
Oil ministers from OPEC, Russia and other major producing countries will meet in Vienna on Thursday and Friday to review their current production agreement that has held back 1.8 million bpd from the market for the past 18 months.
Russia has pushed for returning a million barrels per day back into the market relatively quickly. However, Saudi Arabia would like to try a lower amount to prevent the price from dropping too much, experts said.
However, not all OPEC members agree. Iran, Venezuela and Iraq have all said the current production agreement should stay in place.
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