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US oil ends above $94, kicked higher by stockpile plunge

U.S. oil prices ended nearly $2 higher on Wednesday, after government data showed a larger-than-expected drop in inventories, while gains in Brent were capped by expectations for increased Iranian and Libyan supply.

The rally was exacerbated by the nearing expiration of both oil contracts which forced traders to buy contracts and cover positions.

Ultra low-sulfur diesel futures rose to a more than one-week high after the U.S. government reported stocks of distillates, which include heating fuel and diesel, fell as the market expected supplies to grow. Gasoline inventories saw a surprisingly large build as arctic-like weather last week kept drivers off the road.

U.S. crude oil stocks fell 7.7 million barrels last week, bringing the total draw over the last seven weeks 41.2 million barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Gasoline stocks rose 6.2 million barrels to 223 million barrels, more than a forecast of a 2.5 million-barrel build.

U.S. crude extended gains by more than $2 before ending the session up $1.58 at $94.17. The February contract expires on Tuesday following a long holiday weekend in the U.S.

February Brent crude rose more than $1 to a session high of $107.55 a barrel earlier in the session, and last traded up 80 cents above $107. The contract expires on Thursday.

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