Crude oil prices moved higher moments before the Energy Information Administration reported an inventory build of 4.5 million barrels for the week to May 26.
At 459.7 million barrels, crude oil inventories in the U.S. are around 2% below the five-year average for this time of the year.
Last week’s change compares with a substantial draw of 12.5 million barrels for the previous week, which caused prices to jump but only for a short while.
This week, the American Petroleum Institute surprised markets with a large inventory build estimate that pressured prices on Wednesday but Thursday presented a chance for a reversal as the House of Representatives voted for the debt ceiling suspension deal agreed by President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Meanwhile, the EIA reported a 200,000-barrel inventory draw in gasoline, with production averaging 10 million barrels daily in the week to May 26.
This compared with a draw of 2.1 million barrels for the previous week, when production averaged 10.3 million barrels daily.
In middle distillates, the authority estimated an inventory build of 1 million barrels for the week to May 26, and a production rate of 5 million bpd.
This compared with an inventory draw of 600,000 barrels for the previous week, when production averaged 4.9 million bpd.
At the time of writing, Brent crude traded at $73.11 per barrel, with West Texas Intermediate at $68.86 per barrel, both up since opening on the day when Midland crude joins the Brent basket.
This is the first time a non-European crude oil grade will be part of the global benchmark.
Meanwhile, a poll Reuters ran among economists has suggested that prices will not be able to top $100 this year, remaining below $90 per barrel for the remainder of the year.
According to the respondents in the poll, Brent will average $84.73 per barrel this year, while West Texas Intermediate will average $79.20 per barrel. Both figures were downward revisions on earlier forecasts.