NEW YORK: Oil prices were mixed on Friday but remained on course for a fourth straight week of gains ahead of an OPEC+ meeting early next week.
Brent crude January futures rose 30 cents to $48.10 a barrel by 11:04 a.m. EST (1604 GMT), while the more active February contract gained 37 cents to $48.16.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 31 cents to $45.40 a barrel.
Both benchmarks are up about 7pc over the week after encouraging news on potential Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and others. However, questions have been raised over AstraZeneca’s “vaccine for the world,” with several scientists sounding caution over the trial results.
“While a successful vaccine rollout should break the link between infection and mobility, even then global oil demand will likely only reach its pre-pandemic run rate by mid-2022,” JP Morgan said.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia are leaning towards delaying next year’s planned increase in oil output, said three sources close to the OPEC+ group.
OPEC+ was planning to raise output by 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in January – about 2pc of global consumption – after record supply cuts this year. OPEC+ ministers are due to meet from Monday.
“The market expects prices to see a limited increase if OPEC+ indeed does what is expected and changes its planned route, postponing a planned supply increase from January,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets
Informal talks between ministers are set to take place on Saturday.
Rising Libyan output is also contributing to concerns about oversupply in the market.
The OPEC member, which is exempt from the oil cuts, has added more than 1.1 million bpd of output since early September.