Oil remained below $82 a barrel today as industry data showed an unexpected increase in distillate inventories in the US last week.

For February delivery, US crude fell by 19¢ to $81.58 a barrel at 2:40am GMT, while London Brent crude dropped by 12¢ to $80.47 a barrel, reports Reuters.

The American Petroleum Institute issued data that showed that US distillate stock increased 962,000 barrels last week, compared with earlier forecast of a 1.9m barrel decline.

The unexpected rise in inventories came despite a cold snap across the US, Europe and parts of Asia, which increased heating fuel demand.

The Energy Information Administration is expected to release inventory data later in the day, which will provide further insight into US demand outlook.

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