World oil prices advanced on Wednesday after news that US crude reserves sank by far more than predicted, indicating stronger than expected demand in the top consumer, dealers said.
In late afternoon deals in London, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September climbed 47 cents to stand at $107.80 a barrel.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September gained 71 cents to $103.10 a barrel compared with Tuesday's closing value.
"A drop in (US) oil inventories gave crude prices a lift," said analyst Jasper Lawler at trading firm CMC Markets.
The US government's Department of Energy revealed Wednesday that American crude inventories tumbled by four million barrels in the week ending July 18.
That marked the fourth weekly decline in a row and was far heavier than market expectations for a drop of 2.5 million barrels.
Falling crude stockpiles indicate strengthening demand for oil in the United States, which is the world's biggest consumer of crude. That tends to push oil prices higher.
Traders, meanwhile, continued to monitor the latest newsflow from Ukraine and the Middle East.
Israel's operation against Hamas in Gaza continued to cause tensions, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged an end to the conflict that has entered its 16th day.
Oil prices fell modestly on Tuesday despite concerns about the conflicts in two key regions that are key for world energy supplies.
Tensions in Ukraine have eased since news that pro-Russian rebels had handed over the black boxes from the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that came down in its restive east, killing almost 300 people.
With the US blaming Moscow-backed separatist rebels for the incident, there are fears that an escalation of the conflict and tit-for-tat sanctions could affect supplies from Russia, the world's second-biggest crude producer.