U.S. crude inventories fell 1.8 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Department said on Wednesday, versus forecasts for a 3.4 million-barrel build.

The crude draw provided some support to oil prices as refiners came back online following Hurricane Harvey last month, but gasoline stocks surprisingly rose and stocks of distillates were down by less than anticipated.

Another dampener on prices was U.S. crude production, which rose to 9.55 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, higher than before Harvey hit the Gulf Coast.

With Brent futures commanding their highest premium over WTI in more than two years, U.S. crude has become increasingly competitive in foreign markets and exports hit a record 1.5 million bpd last week.

That complicates efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers to push oil higher through output curbs, as every hike in price encourages more U.S. production.

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