Donald Trump hinted at a withdrawal from a deal curbing Iran's nuclear program as a US visit by Saudi Arabia's Mohammed Bin Salman began.
The Energy Information Administration reported an decline in crude oil inventories of 2.6 million barrels for the week to March 16, pushing up prices in concert with rising Middle Eastern tensions, worries about Venezuela's production slide despite rising output in the United States.
The specter of conflict involving giant producers is jolting prices, which have traded in a $4-range since mid-February.
To get a broader picture, producers could look at a longer period than five years, or take into account inventories in other countries, floating storage and oil in transit, OPEC officials have said.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $63.80 a barrel at 0230 GMT, up 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their previous close.
Bearish concerns have largely been fueld by surging US crude output.
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Traders pointed to concerns in the Middle East, where the United States may reimpose sanctions on Iran, as well as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. To the downside, there is plenty of support from the 50-day moving average, the trendline joining the February highs, the 100-day moving average and then another trendline joining the February/March lows.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $67.71 per barrel, up 29 cents, or 0.4 percent.
Refinery crude runs rose 410,000 bpd and refinery utilization rates jumped 1.7 percentage points to 91.7 percent of total capacity, EIA data showed. The global benchmark crude traded at a $3.92 premium to WTI for the same month.
The US rig count, an early indicator of future output, is much higher than a year ago when 631 rigs were active as energy companies have continued to boost spending since mid-2016 when crude prices began recovering from a two-year crash. Concerns that Trump could pull out of the Iran nuclear deal also had a positive effect on prices. The resumption of sanctions could drag down oil exports from the Persian Gulf state by 250,000 to 500,000 barrels a day by the end of this year, industry consultant FGE said last week.
Gasoline stocks fell 1.7 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.0 million-barrel drop.
Thanks to the high drilling activity, USA crude oil production has risen by more than a fifth since mid-2016, to 10.38 million barrels per day (bpd), pushing it past top exporter Saudi Arabia.