Investing.com – WTI crude oil prices settled at eight-week highs as the prospect of an extension to OPEC-led production cuts into 2019 overshadowed data showing the number of U.S. oil rigs rose to a three-year year.
The number of oil rigs operating in the US rose by four to 804, the highest level since March 27, 2015, according to data from energy services firm Baker Hughes.
Yet upbeat comments from Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih stoked demand for crude after he said OPEC members would need to work with Russia and other non-OPEC oil-producing countries on production cuts into 2019 to reduce global oil inventories .
That comes as Goldman Sachs earlier this week upped its forecast for Brent prices, citing strong emerging market demand and OPEC likely overshooting their inventory rebalancing targets.
“Given continued robust demand growth, particularly in emerging markets and, in our view, OPEC likely to overshoot on the inventory rebalancing, we see spot Brent reaching $82.50 per barrel by mid-year, Goldman Sachs said”
OPEC and Russia agreed in November to extend the 1.8 million barrels per day output cuts through 2018, to rid the market of excess supplies.
The 5.5% rally in crude oil prices this week comes despite data showing U.S. output rose to a record of 10.4 million barrels per day last week. Offsetting that, however, was an unexpected draw in U.S. crude oil supplies.
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