Investing.com – Oil prices finished lower on Friday to tally a loss for the week, as traders weighed a steady increase in U.S. output against OPEC’s ongoing efforts to drain the market of excess supplies.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery fell 35 cents, or around 0.5%, to close at $65.45 a barrel.
Meanwhile, April futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., sank $1.07, or roughly 1.5%, to settle at $68.58 a barrel. The contract touched a more than three-week low of $67.96 earlier in the session.
For the week, WTI crude lost roughly 1%, while Brent declined about 2.8%.
The number of oil drilling rigs climbed for a second week in a row, General Electric (NYSE:)’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday. It rose by six to last week, implying that further gains in domestic production are ahead.
That came after data on Wednesday showed that U.S. crude stockpiles rose 6.8 million barrels last week, which marked the first increase in 11 weeks. The report also showed that U.S. crude oil production, driven by shale extraction, hit 9.91 million barrels per day, the highest level since the early 1970s and close to the output of top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Domestic U.S. output has rebounded by almost 20% since the most recent low in mid-2016, and increasing drilling activity for new production means output is expected to grow further, as producers are attracted by climbing prices.
Oil prices have risen almost 55% from around $43 a barrel in June, benefiting from production cut efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia. The producers agreed in December to extend current oil output cuts until the end of 2018.
The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.
Among other energy contracts, March slumped 2.3 cents, or 1.2%, to end at $1.872 a gallon on Friday, with prices notching a weekly loss of around 3.4%.
for March edged down 3.6 cents, or 1.8%, to $2.053 a gallon, posting a weekly drop of around 3.9%.
Meanwhile, dipped 1.0 cent, or 0.3%, to $2.846 per million British thermal units. It plunged about 19% for the week, after weather forecasts showed that temperatures won’t be as cold as previously expected.
In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on and to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.
The U.S. government will also publish a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.
Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.
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