Oil prices claw up, but register first weekly decline in six weeks

NEW YORK: Oil rebounded more than 2 percent on Friday after falling for five straight session as a major U.S. crude pipeline was shut and traders anticipated an OPEC deal to extend curbs on production.

Prices, however, fell for the first week in six, pressured by rising U.S. output data and doubts that Russia would support an extension of the OPEC output cut deal. Prices rebounded after Thursday’s comments by Saudi Arabia’s energy minister signaled a willingness to extend output cuts when OPEC meets on Nov. 30.

Brent crude oil rose $1.36, or 2.2 percent, to settle at $62.72 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) ended $1.41, or 2.6 percent, at $56.55 a barrel.

For the week, Brent was down 1.3 percent and WTI fell 0.3 percent.

TransCanada Corp’s 590,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Keystone pipeline remained shut after a leak in South Dakota on Thursday.

Traders said the shut-in would add to bullish sentiment due to fewer barrels going into Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point of the WTI contract. The WTI prompt spread CLc1-CLc2 narrowed by as much as 7 cents in the day.

Meanwhile, money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions this week, with short positions at their lowest level since March.

Prices fell this week as fears of oversupply remained after U.S. government data showed oil output touching a record 9.65 million bpd last week. The International Energy Agency also said that the United States would account for 80 percent of the global increase in oil production over the next decade.

U.S. energy companies kept the oil rig count unchanged this week, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday. Some analysts expect a gradual decline in the fourth quarter.

Signs of rising U.S. output have dampened the impact of output cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and several other producers.

Earlier this week, Russia’s Rosneft said an exit from the supply curb deal was a serious challenge, though added that it was committed to a deal.

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