Crude oil inventories in the US fell by 10.347m barrels in the week ending 28 June 2013 - the biggest fall in 14 months, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The consensus was for a fall of just 2.6m barrels.
But at 383.8m barrels, crude oil inventories are still above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, say the EIA.
The negative results come amid rising tensions in the Middle East and worries of a Chinese slowdown. A combination of the unexpected numbers and the passing of the military ultimatum in Egypt caused the price of crude oil to jump two per cent to the highest point since April 2012 ($101.82 per barrel).
The EIA also reports that US crude oil refinery inputs were up 2.4 per cent from the week before, and that gasoline production increased to an average of 9.4m barrels per day. Crude oil imports fell by 12 per cent, with imports averaging 7.4m barrels per day last week and 8.0m barrels per day over the past four weeks.