A worker walks past a drilling rig at a well pad of the Rosneft-owned Prirazlomnoye oil field outside the West Siberian city of Nefteyugansk, Russia, August 4, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo
Oil prices recovered most of their early losses on Wednesday, with Brent returning to above $50 a barrel, after the U.S. government reported a drawdown in domestic crude stocks that extended a trend of unexpected inventory declines this autumn.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said domestic crude stockpiles fell 553,000 barrels last week, against a 1.7 million-barrel build forecast by analysts polled by Reuters.
A preliminary report from trade group American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday suggested a build as high as 4.8 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 21.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 27 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $50.52 a barrel by 10:49 a.m. (1439 GMT). They earlier touched a session low of $49.65, the weakest since Sept. 30.
U.S. crude futures CLc1 were down 2 cents at $49.94, after earlier dropping to $48.87, the lowest since Oct. 4.
With last week's drawdown, U.S. crude stocks have fallen unexpectedly in seven of the past eight weeks.
Crude stocks generally rise at this time of year as refineries go into maintenance. Refinery utilization in the week to Oct. 14 was down to 88 percent from nearly 94 percent in early September.
(Additional reporting by Amanda Cooper in LONDON and Henning Gloystein and Keith Wallis in SINGAPORE; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Meredith Mazzilli)