Oil approached record highs on Thursday, surpassing $83 a barrel an unexpected decline in U.S. inventories stoked concerns about supplies in the world's top consumer ahead of winter.

U.S. crude oil stocks fell 1.7 million barrels last week to the lowest level since January, a report by the Energy Information Administration showed, countering analyst expectations for a 900,000 barrel rise.

The drop helped push U.S. oil futures up $1.78 to settle at $83.08 a barrel, the second-highest closing price since the contract was introduced. Futures reached $83.67, the highest intraday price since Sept. 28. Futures touched $83.90 a barrel on Sept. 20, the highest since trading began in 1983.

Concerns of a winter shortfall have helped fuel oil's rally over the past month and sent U.S. heating oil prices to a record high on Thursday.

There is a broad consensus that supplies will get tighter this winter, the International Energy Agency said in its monthly report.

Heating oil increased $3.01 cents, or 1.4 percent to close at $2.2473 while gasoline for November delivery climbed 3.3 cents, or 1.6 percent, to settle at $2.0666 a gallon.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia told Asian customers on Thursday it would increase shipments by about 10 percent.