Oil prices were climbing Thursday after the U.S. Energy Information Agency reported a 600,000-barrel build in domestic crude oil inventories.
The news follows a bullish report on Wednesday from the American Petroleum Institute, which said domestic stockpiles were reduced by 884,000 barrels during the week ended Feb. 17.
Oil prices had fallen more than 1% Wednesday ahead of the API report, but surged back above $54 a barrel overnight after the surprise draw.
U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude contracts for April delivery were up 2.3% to $54.80 a barrel shortly after the EIA's report Thursday, as the build was much smaller than analysts were expecting.
Integrated oil majors Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Report and Chevron (CVX) - Get Report were in the green following the inventory report, as were pure play oil producers EOG Resources (EOG) - Get Report and ConocoPhillips (COP) - Get Report.
The API and EIA crude inventory reports have not been on the same page recently, but the latter is widely viewed as the official tally.
Wall Street analysts were anticipating a 3.4 million barrel build this week. The EIA has not reported a crude inventory draw since December. Last week the agency reported a 9.5 million-barrel build in stockpiles.
While a 1.2 million barrel per day production cut by OPEC and non-OPEC producers have seemingly stabilized oil prices above $50 a barrel for the first time during this downturn, industry experts have warned the current six-month agreement may not be enough.
On Wednesday, the CEO of oil supermajor Total (TOT) - Get Report said OPEC and Russia will need to extend their six-month deal to cut oil output in order to trim the global inventory glut that has weighed on prices.
And the ramp in U.S. shale activity is not helping matters. Baker Hughes (BHI) reported a build of nearly 100 rigs in the past five weeks, and the EIA said total petroleum products supplied by the U.S. in the last month averaged 19.8 million barrels per day, up by 0.7% from the same period last year.
Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil imports averaged 7.3 million barrels per day last week, down by 1.2 million barrels per day from the previous week.
Motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.6 million barrels during the frame, and U.S. crude oil refinery inputs were down again last week to an average of about 15.3 million barrels per day.