Crude retains support

The Oil and Gas Year (TOGY)

LONDON, November 24, 2017 – Crude oil prices remained supported on Friday, amid ongoing optimism over the rebalancing of the market and as the partial closure of the a key North-American pipeline sparked supply disruption concerns.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude January contract was up 71 cents or about 1.22% at $58.73 a barrel by 09:50 a.m. ET (13:50 GMT), its highest since July 2015.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for January delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London was steady at $63.55 a barrel.

Trade volumes were expected to remain thin with U.S. markets open for only half a day on Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

Prices increased following news that an oil spill forced the partial closure of the Keystone pipeline connecting Canadian oilfields with the U.S. on Friday.

The commodity was already supported after the EIA reported on Wednesday that crude oil inventories fell by 1.9 million barrels last week, marking the first decline in three weeks. That was compared with analysts’ expectations for a decline of 1.5 million barrels.

Prices received an additional boost from growing signals that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies will agree to prolong supply curbs beyond March when producers meet in Vienna next week.

Top crude exporter Saudi Arabia is lobbying oil ministers to agree on a nine-month extension to OPEC-led supply cuts, sources familiar with the matter said, as Riyadh seeks to ensure a price-sapping glut is eradicated.

OPEC, together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia, has been restraining output since the start of this year in a bid to end a global supply overhang and prop up prices.

The deal to curb output is due to expire in March 2018, but OPEC will meet on Nov. 30 to discuss the outlook for the policy.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures were up 0.08% at $1.779 a gallon, while natural gas futures lost 2.49% to $2.894 per million British thermal units.

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