Investing.com – Crude oil prices settled lower on Friday, as investors fretted over an uptick in U.S. production but losses were limited as expectations grew that Opec would extend its agreement on output curbs.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for December delivery fell 0.7% to settle at $56.74 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent lost 37 cents to trade at $63.56 a barrel.
Crude Oil futures fell to a weekly loss as investors weighed a report from Baker Hughes showing the number of oil rigs operating in the US rose to the highest in almost a month by 9 to 738.
The uptick in rig counts added to concerned over rising U.S. output after federal energy projections this week estimated U.S. production to rise to 9.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 and a record 10.0 million bpd in 2018.
Losses in oil prices were limited, however, as investor expectations for an extension to the Opec-led product-cut agreement remained elevated ahead of the upcoming meeting on Nov. 30.
In May, Opec producers agreed to extend production cuts for a period of nine months until March, but stuck to production cuts of 1.2 million bpd agreed in November last year.
Oil prices are expected to remain volatile over the near-term amid ongoing unrest in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia warned its citizens on Thursday not to travel to Lebanon and urged the international community to impose fresh sanctions on Iran.
The escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran come after Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of “direct military aggression” by supplying Houthi rebels in Yemen with missiles, one of which was fired towards the Riyadh on Saturday.