Investing.com - Crude oil prices rebounded in Asia on Thursday, taking note of continued strife in major oil producer Iraq and wider tension in the Middle East.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in August traded at $105.87 a barrel, up 0.26%, after hitting an overnight session low of $105.37 a barrel and a high of $106.45 a barrel.
Brent oil on ICE Futures Europe rose 0.2% to $113.70 a barrel on Wednesday.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories decreased by 579,000 barrels in the week ended June 13, less than expectations for a decline of 650,000 barrels.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 386.3 million barrels as of last week.
The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories increased by 785,000 barrels, disappointing forecasts for a decline of 113,000 barrels, while distillate stockpiles rose by 436,000 barrels, above expectations for an increase of 250,000 barrels.
Stockpiles are now more than 10 million barrels below the record reached in the week ended April 25. Supplies usually decline in the late spring as refineries complete seasonal maintenance and ramp up production ahead of the busy summer-driving season.
However, refineries aren''t running as much as expected. Refining capacity utilization fell 0.8 percentage point to 87.1% of capacity, its lowest since late March. Analysts had expected the operating rate to rise by 0.8 percentage point in the week.
The news sent prices falling, though unrest in Iraq cushioned losses on concerns the uprising may affect oil shipments if it spreads.
Sunni militants attacked Iraq''s largest oil refinery on Wednesday, according to media reports, though Iraq’s main oil-producing areas remain far south of the violence, which has calmed nerves and lowered oil prices.
Iraq produced approximately 3.5 million barrels a day of oil last month, making it OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia.