Figures released by the Energy Information Administration showed US commercial crude inventories fell by 2.8 million barrels to 462.2 million barrels in the week through October 6.
Inventories have been declining in recent weeks, after an interruption due to Hurricane Harvey that knocked out almost half of the Gulf Coast's refining capacity at the end of August.
Previous data from the industry body API as well as the official Energy Information Administration had shown a decline in USA crude stocks for two consecutive weeks to the end of September, helping support WTI prices, which have been lagging the upward momentum in Brent from growing optimism over a slow but steady rebalancing of the global oil market underway. On Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute had reported on Wednesday that stocks rose by 3.1 million barrels. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.5 million barrels, versus expectations for a 2.2-million-barrel decline, the EIA data showed. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 83 cents, or 1.6%, to $50.47 per barrel.
Elsewhere, for December delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London was down 22 cents or about 0.39% at $56.72 a barrel.
The API reported a decline in USA gasoline inventories of about 1.58 million barrels.
The United States, however, has exported more than 1 million bpd of crude for three straight weeks for the first time and analysts, however, expect exports to remain elevated in coming weeks.
Crude production slipped 81,000 bpd to 9.48 million bpd, its first fall since the week to September 1.
However, the EIA also reported a 2.5-million-barrel rise in gasoline inventories for last week, exceeding analyst expectations of a 1.4-million-barrel increase, and in contrast to API estimates of a 1.575-million-barrel draw.