Investing.com – Oil prices were mostly unchanged on Friday as investors took a pause after four straight sessions of gains with black gold on track for a weekly rise of about 3.7%.
The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude August contract slipped 2 cent, or around 0.04%, to $46.06 a barrel by 4:54AM ET (8:54GMT).
Elsewhere, Brent oil for September delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London inched up 3 cents, or 0.06%, to $48.45 a barrel.
Supporting bullish sentiment in crude this week, U.S. crude inventories registered a larger-than-expected draw and investors cheered data pointing to an increase in demand for oil from China as imports increased 13.8% to 8.55m bpd during the first six months of the year, compared to the same period a year ago.
That outweighed the bearish news that OPEC compliance on the agreement to extend production cuts with non-OPEC members led by Russia by 1.8 million barrels per day through March 2018 hit 78%, its lowest level in six months.
So far, the production-cut agreement has had little impact on global inventory levels due to rising supply from producers not participating in the accord, such as Libya and Nigeria, and a relentless increase in U.S. shale oil output.
U.S. drillers added seven oil rigs, energy services company Baker Hughes announced last Friday, marking a 24th week of increases out of the last 25.
That brought the total count up to 763, the most since April 2015, implying that further gains in domestic production are ahead.
Baker Hughes will release its most recent reading later on Friday.
Natural gas futures for August delivery traded up 0.57% to $2.978 per million British thermal units.
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