Crude was on track for weekly gains of 2% on the back of support for an extension of the production curb. In early morning trade, oil prices were clawing back from prior losses and breached positive territory.The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude December contract gained 30 cents, or 0.57%, to $52.94 a barrel by 9:52AM ET (13:52GMT).
Elsewhere, Brent oil for December delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London rose 10 cents, or 0.17%, to $59.40 a barrel.Oil prices have moved higher this week on speculation that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will agree to extend a deal to cut levels of production in order to rebalance the market.The original agreement, struck nearly a year ago between OPEC and 10 other non-OPEC countries led by Russia, was to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day for six months. The agreement was then extended in May of this year for a period of nine months until March 2018 in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.
Crude rose nearly 1% on Thursday after Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman indicated that the top oil exporter needed to extend production cuts in order to stabilize markets, suggesting agreement for another nine month extension.Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Moscow earlier this month that November was too early to make a decision, but, at the same time, added that he doesn’t rule out an extension to the end of 2018.
On Friday, OPEC’s Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo declared that “OPEC welcomes the clear guidance from the crown prince of Saudi Arabia on the need to achieve stable oil markets and sustain it beyond the first quarter of 2018.”
“Together with the statement expressed by President Putin this clears the fog on the way to (the cartel’s next meeting in) Vienna on November 30,” he added in comments to Reuters.Later on Friday, market participants will also keep an eye on increasing U.S. shale production when Baker Hughes releases its most recent weekly rig count data.Last week the oilfield services firm said that its weekly count of oil rigs operating in the U.S. fell by seven to 736, chalking up its third straight decline to the lowest level since June.Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for November delivery fell 0.21% at $1.7476 a gallon by 9:53AM ET (13:53GMT), while November heating oil gained 0.23% to $1.8462 a gallon.Natural gas futures for November delivery traded down 3.43% to $2.791 per million British thermal units.
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