Investing.com - Oil prices settled higher for the fifth session in a row on Friday, holding near their strongest levels since late 2014 amid ongoing optimism that OPEC-led output cuts would continue to drain the market of excess supplies.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for February delivery tacked on 50 cents, or around 0.8%, to end at $64.30 a barrel. It rose to its highest since Dec. 2014 at $64.77 on Thursday.
It posted a gain of roughly 4.7% for the week, its fourth such rise in a row.
Meanwhile, March Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., advanced 61 cents, or roughly 0.9%, to settle at $69.87 a barrel by close of trade. The contract broke above $70 on Thursday for the first time since December 2014.
For the week, Brent enjoyed a gain of about 3.3%, notching a four-week win streak.
Oil prices have added around 13% since early December, 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.
However, analysts and traders have warned that the recent rally could encourage U.S. shale oil producers to ramp up production as they look to take advantage of higher prices.
The number of oil drilling rigs climbed by 10 to 752 in the week to Jan. 5, data from General Electric (NYSE:GE)'s Baker Hughes energy services unit showed, the first increase to drilling numbers in five weeks.
In other energy trading, gasoline futures rose 1.2 cents, or 0.7%, to end at $1.849 a gallon on Friday, for a weekly gain of about 3.6%.
Heating oil inched up 0.8 cents, or 0.4%, to $2.085 a gallon, notching a weekly increase of around 1.3%.
Meanwhile, natural gas futures surged 11.6 cents, or 3.8%, to $3.200 per million British thermal units, the highest most-active contract settlement since early November. It ended nearly 15% higher for the week, after data showed the largest withdrawal on record in U.S. supplies in storage last week.
In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Wednesday and Thursday to further weigh what the impact of recent storm activity was on supply and demand.
The reports come out one day later than usual due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday on Monday.
The data will give traders a better picture of whether a global rebalancing is taking place in the oil market.
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 Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties will publish its monthly assessment of oil markets.
Later in the day, 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.
The International Energy Agency will release its monthly report on global oil supply and demand.
Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.
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