The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) data recorded an inventory draw of 7.56 million barrels for the week ending July 7th following a draw of 6.3 million barrels the previous week.
Consensus forecasts were for a decline of 2.5 million barrels, although markets were expecting a larger decline after the API data.
Crude inventories declined to 495.4 million barrels, but were still 0.9% higher on the year. Refinery use increased 0.9% on the week following a 1.1% gain the previous week.
Cushing inventories recorded a further draw of 1.95 million barrels on the week, maintaining the run of strong draws.
Domestic crude production recorded an increase of 0.06% on the week at 9.40mn bpd and an increase of 10.7% over the year.
Gasoline inventories recorded a draw of 1.6 million barrels on the week with a 1.8% annual decline while distillate recorded a build of 3.1 million barrels with a year-on-year increase of 0.4%.
The gasoline data will offer some relief and there has been evidence of strong gasoline demand which will help underpin prices in the short term, especially with the scope for a further increase in refinery use.
WTI crude prices immediately rallied to the $46.40 p/b area on release before dipping lower again to test support below $46.00 and, after a brief rally, dipping to lows around $45.70.