Investing.com - Crude futures struggled for direction on Wednesday but ultimately settled lower after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a larger-than-expected rise in crude inventories.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) latest drilling productivity report revealed that U.S. crude stocks rose 9.5 million barrels last week, nearly three times more than forecast.
Total U.S. crude inventories rose to 518.12 million barrels, which is at the upper limit of the average range for this time of the year, according to EIA, while gasoline inventories rose to a record high of 2.8 million.
However, the glut in crude inventories was offset by a decline in crude oil imports and a drop of 689,000 barrels in distillate inventories.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange Crude Oil Futures for March delivery settled at $53.11 a barrel, down 9 cents, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent shed 24 cents to settle at $55.73 a barrel.
Moves in crude prices were volatile throughout the session, as the EIA's latest report does little to calm fears that increased drilling activity from both U.S. crude and shale oil producers will underpinned OPEC and other producers' efforts to combat the demand and supply imbalance in the industry.
The EIA predicts U.S. shale oil production will rise by a total of 80,000 barrels a day to 4.87 million barrels a day in March - the highest rate of shale oil production since May last year.
On Monday the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers, including Russia, confirmed in a report that its members were in high compliance with last year's agreed production cut.
The oil cartel and other exporters including Russia trimmed output in January by 1.7 million barrels a day - close to the agreed cut of almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd).
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