Oil futures rose then turned lower Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a smaller-than-expected rise in last week's crude inventories. Crude supplies climbed by 600,000 barrels for the week ended Feb. 8. Analysts polled by Platts expected a 2.5-million-barrel climb.
Motor gasoline supplies fell 800,000 barrels, while distillate stockpiles declined by 3.7 million barrels, the EIA report said. Analysts expected gasoline stocks to be unchanged, and forecast a fall of 1.6 million barrels in distillate supplies.
Following the latest data, March crude briefly topped $98 U.S. a barrel, then turned lower to last trade at $97.29 U.S. a barrel, down 22 cents, or 0.2%. It was trading around $97.75 U.S. ahead of the report. The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that crude supplies fell 2.3 million barrels last week.