Oil prices rose to their highest level in two weeks on Wednesday as U.S. inventories of distillates fell unexpectedly, trumping a sharp rise in gasoline stocks.
Prices were slightly lower earlier on concerns over weak gasoline demand ahead of the U.S. driving season that kicks off on the U.S. Memorial Day holiday on May 30.
Inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell 2.04 million barrels to 141 million barrels last week, the lowest since April 2009.
The data overshadowed a larger-than-expected 3.79 barrel build in gasoline stocks and an unexpected modest gain of 616,000 barrels in crude stocks.
With tight distillate supplies in China and Europe, it could be heating oil and not gasoline that leads this market, said Mike Zarembski, a senior commodities analyst at Optionsxpress, Chicago.
U.S. crude for July delivery gained $1.07 to $100.66 a barrel by 12:30 p.m. EDT (1630 GMT), after hitting a session high of $101.10, the highest intraday price since May 11.
In London, ICE Brent for July rose $1.86 to $114.39, after rising to a session high of $114.67, highest since May 13.
Brent was earlier supported by unrest in the Middle East following escalation of violence in Yemen and as NATO strikes intensified over Libya.
(Reporting by Gene Ramos; Editing by Marguerita Choy)