Oil prices slide after U.S. drillers add rigs

Waning risk premium, more US production pushes oil prices lower

Waning risk premium, more US production pushes oil prices lower

Traders said higher prices in recent weeks were the result of efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russian Federation to tighten the market by cutting output, as well as strong demand and rising political tensions.

Brent crude oil was up 20 cents at $63.69 a barrel by 1120 GMT.

Brent crude hit $64.65 earlier this week, its highest since mid-2015, as political tensions in the Middle East escalated after a sweeping anti-corruption purge in top crude exporter Saudi Arabia, which in turn has confronted Iran over the conflict in Yemen.

WTI light sweet crude oil rose 35 cents to USD57.16 a barrel, as the bulls again took charge after yesterday's decline. If that happens, some said prices could rally more.

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Oil prices held steady on Thursday after falling late in the previous session, supported by ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russian Federation.

Crude was down slightly on Friday as expectations that OPEC and other producers will extend their production cut agreement were offset by US drillers adding the most oil rigs in a week since June, indicating output will continue to grow.

OPEC will discuss output at a meeting on November 30, and is expected to extend the limits beyond their expiry in March 2018.

Despite this, some analysts say the price rally of the past months may have run its course, at least for now.

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"With the OPEC/non-OPEC deal extension beyond March 2018 a certainty, prices may become stronger and temporarily reach the $65-$70 per barrel range in 2018", said energy consultancy FGE.

In its short-term market report, published Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration raised its growth forecast for next year by about 6 percent to 720,000 barrels per day, to give an average production rate for next year of 9.95 million barrels per day. Texas issued 997 oil and gas drilling permits last month, up almost 17 percent from a year earlier.

"Stronger oil fundamentals and investor inflows have been the catalyst for higher oil prices, but adding further support now is a focus on several geopolitical risks that have been looming over oil markets for a while", said analysts at Citi.

Key for the last weeks of the year is whether traders remain confident about their huge bets on further price rises, or whether they sell out of these positions, satisfied with recent strong gains.

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