Crude oil futures were higher during mid-morning trade in Asia Wednesday after latest weekly data showed an unexpected drawdown in US crude stocks, while OPEC producers were expected to keep production constrained. At 10:43 am Singapore time (0243 GMT), May ICE Brent crude futures were up 12 cents/b (0.18%) from Tuesday’s settle at $66.79/b, while the NYMEX April light sweet crude contract was 20 cents/b (0.35%) higher at $57.07/b.

Crude oil prices rose after the release of an industry report late Tuesday showing an unexpected drop in US crude inventory, UOB analysts said in a note.  US crude inventories fell 2.58 million barrels in the week to March 8, swinging from an increase of 7.29 million the week before, the American Petroleum Institute said in a weekly report. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts on Monday had been expecting a 3.3 million-barrel build.

US gasoline inventories fell 5.85 million barrels in the week to March 8, while US distillate inventories rose by 195,000 million barrels, according to the API report.  More definitive numbers from the US Energy Information Administration are due for release later Wednesday.  Analysts noted that headlines coming out of an industry event in Houston this week supported the view that producers will remain constrained.