U.S. crude ended near flat, as expectations of more supply from the Middle East and North Africa competed with data and a large drop in stockpiles.
Oil was also constrained by bearish signals from a possible rise in Iranian oil exports. A thaw in relations between Tehran and Western powers has led to speculation that markets could see a boost in Iranian supply.
Crude oil stocks dropped by 7.7 million barrels on the week, capping the largest 7-week drop on record, compared to a forecast of a 0.6 million barrel fall, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Gasoline stocks rose by 6.2 million barrels, more than forecast, while distillate stocks came off by 1 million barrels versus an expected build of 1.5 million.
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