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Oil Rises Despite Inventory Increase

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Crude oil prices were reversing early losses on Wednesday morning even as a government report said inventories increased last week.

The Energy Department said that crude oil inventories increased by 3.1 million barrels in the week ended Oct.1. At 360.9 million barrels, crude inventories were above the upper limit of the average range for this time of the year, the report said.

Analysts surveyed by Platts expected stockpiles to decrease by 1.3 million barrels. The report was however, less bearish than the industry's own assessment, with the American Petroleum Institute estimating a 4.4 million build-up in inventories, helping to push prices higher.

The crude oil contract for November delivery was rising 24 cents to $83.06. Continuing weakness in the dollar is also providing some support to crude prices.

The Energy Department also reported a drop of 2.6 million barrels in gasoline inventories and a 1.1 million barrel decrease in distillate stocks. That was unexpectedly bullish, as gasoline stocks were expected to rise by 700,000 barrels, while distillates were projected to drop by only 900,000 barrels, according to the Platts Poll.

The November heating oil contract was flat at $2.306 a barrel, while November gasoline futures were ahead by a penny at $2.138 a barrel.

Energy stocks were gaining amid fluctuating market action, with Dow components Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) and Chevron (CVX - Get Report) rising 0.4% to $63.54 and 0.2% to $83.58 respectively. Conoco Phillps (COP) was a prominent volume gainer, rising 1% to $59.40.

Lucas Energy (LEI - Get Report), Massey Energy (MEE) and Tesco Corporation (TESO - Get Report) were other prominent gainers.

The NYSE Oil Arca Index was up 0.7%.

-- Written by Shanthi Venkataraman in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Shanthi Venkataraman.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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