U.S. crude oil inventories rose last week amid expectations of a drawdown in stockpiles, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.
Commercial crude oil stocks increased by 2.4 million barrels, or 0.5%, to 438.9 million barrels for the week ending August 2, the EIA data showed. However, the market expectation was a decline of 2.85 million barrels.
The unexpected rise in U.S. stockpiles pushed oil prices lower on Wednesday.
International benchmark Brent crude dropped to as low as $55.89 on Wednesday after opening the day at $58.74. American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell to $50.52 on Wednesday, up from starting the day at $53.35.
On Thursday, prices gained some momentum after rumors surfaced about a joint meeting between the world's top oil producers in which action would likely be taken against falling oil prices. Brent was trading at $57.83 per barrel at 0623 GMT and WTI was at $52.71 a barrel on Thursday.
Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in the commercial crude stocks, remained unchanged at 644.8 million barrels last week, according to the data.
Meanwhile, gasoline inventories rose by 4.4 million barrels, or 1.9%, to 235.2 million barrels over that period. The previous week saw gasoline inventories fall by 1.8 million barrels.
Crude oil production in the country increased by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to around 12.3 million bpd for the week ending August 2.
By Zeynep Beyza Kilic