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Oil pares gains despite big drop in U.S. crude stocks

By Scott DiSavino

By Scott DiSavino

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil futures pared gains on Wednesday despite a bigger-than-expected decline in U.S. crude stocks as the drawdown was not as big as reported by the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday.

U.S. crude inventories fell 7.6 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, much more than the 2.9 million-barrel crude draw forecast but slightly less than the 8.1 million-barrel decline reported by the API. [EIA/S][nL1N1K21N9]<ENERGYUSA>

Benchmark Brent <LCOc1> futures were up 35 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $47.87 a barrel by 10:44 a.m. EDT (1444 GMT), while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude <CLc1> was up 57 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $45.61 per barrel.

Before EIA released the storage report, Brent was up 1.9 percent and U.S. was up 2.4 percent.

The premium of the Brent front-month over WTI fell to $2.08 per barrel, its lowest so far this month.

(Additional reporting Alex Lawler and Ahmad Ghaddar in London and Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson and Marguerita Choy)