Updated from 8:37 a.m. EST

Oil prices pushed higher after the Energy Department released a report on U.S. fuel inventories that contained few surprises.

Crude oil for January delivery was recently up 74 cents to $42.20 after beginning the session at its lowest level in more than three months. Still, the oil contract has lost about a quarter of its value since peaking at $55.17 on Oct. 26.

For the week ended Dec. 3, the government reported a 1.4 million barrel increase in U.S. distillate stocks, the category of fuel that includes heating oil. Analysts had been forecasting a 1.5 million-barrel build.

The same report showed gas stocks climbing by 2.4 million barrels and crude stocks rising by 600,000 barrels in the week.

The data lifted crude from below $41 a barrel and brought the contract's eight-session decline to roughly 15%.

On Friday, OPEC oil ministers will meet in Cairo amid growing calls among members to rein in production. Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told

Bloomberg:

"We're going to evaluate the levels of overproduction and, if needed, we're going to call for quotas to be respected again."

The cartel's current output limit is 27 million barrels a day.