Oil has gained for a fourth day, the longest winning streak since April, on signs the pace of drilling is slowing in the US amid a global oversupply.
Futures added as much as 0.6% in New York, after advancing 6.6% the previous three days.
The number of rigs targeting oil fell by 9 to 555, the lowest level since June 2010, Baker Hughes Inc. said on its website.
US oil drillers have idled more than half the country’s rigs since December, according to Baker Hughes. The number of active machines have dropped for 12 of the past 13 weeks.
Crude stockpiles increased by 961,000 barrels last week to 488.2 million, the EIA report Wednesday showed. Supplies rose to 490.9 million barrels in April, the highest level in weekly data since 1982. Inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI and the biggest U.S. oil-storage hub, expanded a third week to 58.6 million barrels.
Crude stockpiles in the world’s biggest oil consumer increased for a ninth week to near a record, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Oil has slumped more than 40% the past year amid speculation the surplus will be prolonged with US inventories more than 100 million barrels above the five-year seasonal average and as OPEC pumps above its quota.
Iran will pitch more than 50 oil and natural gas projects to foreign investors at a conference in Tehran starting Saturday as the government prepares for the end of sanctions.
“The short-term trend for prices has been up, but oil has started to lose momentum,” Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said.
“There is not a lot of change in the underlying crude stockpile data, the U.S. figures are consistent with what we’ve seen in recent weeks.”
West Texas Intermediate for January delivery gained as much as 26 cents to $43.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and traded at $43.16. The contract added 17 cents to $43.04 on Wednesday. The volume of all futures traded was about 22% below the 100-day average.
Brent for January settlement was 10 cents lower at $46.07 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract increased 5 cents to $46.17 Wednesday. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $2.93 to WTI.