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WTI, Brent Crude Settlements Post Gains on Wednesday as Oil Inventories Drop Below 500 Million Barrels

Crude prices surged higher on Wednesday as government data reports confirmed a sharp decline in domestic oil for a second consecutive week, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, August West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 45 cents, or 1%, to settle at $45.49 a barrel.

On the London ICE Futures Exchange, September Brent crude added 22 cents, 0.5%, to end trading at $47.74 a barrel.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that domestic crude supplies dropped 7.6 million barrels for the week ending July 7. That amount topped a forecast for a decline of 2.6 million barrels by analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts, but came in slightly less than the decline of 8.1 barrels reported by the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday. Crude stockpiles dropped by 6.3 million barrels during the prior week.

“Crude inventories have dropped below 500 million barrels for the first time since late January, and are just above year-ago levels, after the biggest draw since last September,” said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.

August natural gas also fell 6.2 cents, or 2%, to end trading at $2.985 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

A monthly report from OPEC released Wednesday revealed that global oil supply rose by 660,000 barrels a day to average 96.59 million barrels a day in June, compared with a month earlier.

Meanwhile, world oil demand for the year is expected to grow by 1.27 million barrels a day, with total consumption at around 96.4 million barrels a day.

OPEC member crude production averaged 32.61 million barrels a day in June, up 393,000 barrels a day from May, with higher output from Libya, Nigeria, Angola, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Nigeria and Libya have been invited to an OPEC panel meeting in Moscow on July 24 to discuss whether to include the two countries in OPEC’s current production curb agreement.