Oil prices climb after unexpected drawdown in USA crude stocks

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Oil prices dipped on Friday as high US crude exports outweighed lower crude inventories in the world's biggest consumer of the fuel, reports.

Last week, API reported a build of 3.947 million barrels of crude oil, along with a build of 4.634 million barrels in gasoline inventories.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were last up 13 cents at $65.55 a barrel by 1500 GMT, as were West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 which were last at $61.81 a barrel.

US crude oil production was virtually unchanged at 10.27 million barrels per day (bpd), close to levels of top producer Russian Federation and more than OPEC-kingpin Saudi Arabia pumps. Brent, the global benchmark, gained 97 cents, or 1.5%, to $66.39 a barrel.

USA crude oil stockpiles fell by 1.6 million barrels in the week to February 16, to 420.48 million barrels, the EIA showed.

"Weekly EIA data was particularly supportive to WTI considering USA and Cushing draws, a boost in crude exports above 2 million bpd and flat crude production", said Anthony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging LLC in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

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Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.4 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.5 million-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.

"The reason that the inventories continue to drop at Cushing is because the market remains backwardated and therefore it's uneconomical to be storing crude", said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, Texas.

"It makes more sense to liquidate your on-hand inventories", Lipow said.

Meanwhile, U.S. exports of crude oil surpassed 2 million barrels a day last week, closing in on a record reached in October. The supertankers can ship about 2 million barrels of oil.

A stronger dollar puts pressure on dollar-denominated commodities like oil.

Globally, oil markets remain well supported due to demand-growth coinciding with production restraint led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russian Federation.

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