By David Gaffen

By David Gaffen


(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil inventories rose more than expected last week on increased imports and a build at the storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.


Crude inventories <USOILC=ECI> rose for the third consecutive week, increasing 5.3 million barrels in week ended Nov. 11, compared with expectations for an increase of 1.5 million barrels.


The price of oil was higher on the day. U.S. crude futures <CLc1> initially dipped on the inventory rise, but subsequent headlines from Russia's energy minister suggesting major oil-producing nations hope to reach balance in the market in a shorter time frame reversed those losses.


U.S. crude was up 29 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $46.11 a barrel, while Brent crude rose 26 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $47.21 a barrel, as of 10:51 a.m. EST (1551 GMT).

"This (build) is larger than expected but not enough to offset the anticipation of OPEC and some of the macro things that are going on around the world," said Scott Shelton, energy specialist at ICAP in Durham, North Carolina.

"I would not be surprised if the market ignores this and we end up higher on the day."

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet at the end of the month, where it is expected to cap oil production to offset an ongoing supply glut.

U.S. crude imports <USOICI=ECI> rose last week by 910,000 barrels per day. Heavy imports contributed to a 4.9 million-barrel increase in stocks in the U.S. Gulf, the country's refining hub.

Stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures <USOICC=ECI> rose 691,000 barrels, EIA said.

The build came even as refinery crude runs <USOICR=ECI> rose by 309,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed, and refinery utilization rates <USOIRU=ECI> rose 2.1 percentage points.

Gasoline stocks <USOILG=ECI> rose 746,000 barrels, compared with expectations for a 416,000-barrel drop.

Distillate stockpiles <USOILD=ECI>, which include diesel and heating oil, increased 310,000 barrels, versus expectations for a 1.7 million-barrel decline, the EIA said.

(Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Marguerita Choy)