Crude inventories rose for a third straight week, building by 4.6 million barrels, about a million more barrels than forecast.
“The impact of Hurricane Harvey can still be seen in todays larger-than-expected build in the U.S. commercial crude stockpile,” said Abhishek Kumar, Senior Energy Analyst at Interfax Energys Global Gas Analytics in London, “However, this has had limited impact in dissipating the bullish sentiment prevailing in the market.
Gasoline stocks fell 2.1 million barrels, in line with analysts’ expectations while distillate stocks inventories fell 5.7 million barrels, the biggest weekly draw since November 2011.
Refinery activity recovered slightly but remained subdued in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which knocked out about a quarter of U.S. refining capacity. Refinery crude runs rose by 1.1 million barrels per day, according to EIA. Refinery utilization rates rose by 5.5 percentage points.
Crude prices were little changed after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and announced it will begin reducing its balance sheet in October, a key part of unwinding its long-standing easy money policy.
On Friday the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers meet in Vienna to discuss the progress of their deal to limit output.