US crude oil stocks fell more than expected in the most recent week while petrol and distillate inventories increased, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.

Crude inventories fell by 7.9 million barrels in the week to December 20 to 444.1 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a draw of 1.83 million barrels.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 2.2 million barrels, API said. Refinery crude runs fell by 514,000 barrels per day, API data showed.

Petrol stocks rose by 566,000 barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2 million-barrel gain.

Distillate fuel inventories, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.68 million barrels, compared with expectations for an 867,000-barrel gain, the data showed.

US crude imports fell last week by 331,000 barrels per day to 6.4 million bpd.