West Texas Intermediate traded near the highest price in two weeks after government data showed crude inventories fell to the lowest level since March 2012 in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer. Futures were little changed in New York after advancing 1.7%, the most in six weeks. Crude stockpiles slid by 7.66 million barrels to 350.2 million in the seven days ended January 10, according to the Energy Information Administration. The contract of February raised $1.58 to $94.17 on Friday, the highest close since January 2. The volume of all futures traded was 42% below the 100-day average.
Crude inventories shrank as imports decreased 13% last week, the most since September 2012, according to the EIA report. Gasoline stockpiles increased 6.18 million barrels, compared with a projected gain of 2.5 million. In Libya, the biggest crude reserves holder in Africa. Operations have returned to normal at the Sharara field as protesters are satisfied with the government’s response to their demands. The country’s production has risen to about 600,000 barrels a day this week, from 210,000 barrels a day in December, after work resumed at Sharara on January 4, according to state-run National Oil Corp.