U.S. oil futures ended Thursday trading higher, but well off their highs, after govement data showed a rise in U.S. crude stockpiles, contradicting an earlier industry report.

U.S. oil futures ended Thursday trading higher, but well off their highs, after govement data showed a rise in U.S. crude stockpiles, contradicting an earlier industry report.

U.S. crude settled 11 cents higher, or 0.36 percent, at $30.77 a barrel, while Brent futures fell 25 cents to $34.25 a barrel. Brent earlier traded as high as $35.73. WTI rose more than 3 percent at session highs.

The Energy Information Administration reported crude inventories rose by 2.1 million barrels in the last week as refineries hiked output. Analysts had expected an increase of 3.9 million barrels.

Futures had earlier gained support after the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said U.S. crude stocks unexpectedly fell by 3.3 million barrels last week.

Gasoline stocks jumped by 3 million barrels, beating expectations by 2.5 million barrels. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, were up 1.4 million barrels, slightly below a consensus forecast.

This report is broduced by Behrooz Haj Davani in EnergyPress web-base