MTECHTIPS- Crude futures struggled for direction on Wednesday but ultimately settled lower after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a larger-than-expected rise in crude inventories. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest drilling productivity report revealed that U.S. crude stocks rose 9.5 million barrels last week, nearly three times more than forecast. Total U.S. crude inventories rose to 518.12 million barrels, which is at the upper limit of the average range for this time of the year, according to EIA, while gasoline inventories rose to a record high of 2.8 million. However, the glut in crude inventories was offset by a decline in crude oil imports and a drop of 689,000 barrels in distillate inventories. On the New York Mercantile Exchange Crude Oil Futures for March delivery settled at $53.11 a barrel, down 9 cents, while on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent shed 24 cents to settle at $55.73 a barrel. Moves in crude prices were volatile throughout the session, as the EIA’s latest report does little to calm fears that increased drilling activity from both U.S. crude and shale oil producers will underpinned OPEC and other producers’ efforts to combat the demand and supply imbalance in the industry.