Investing.com – Crude oil prices remained near two-year highs on Monday, still boosted by expectations that oil producing countries will agree to extend an output cut at their meeting at the end of this month.
The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude December contract was up20cents or about 0.36% at $55.80a barrel by 09:55 a.m. ET (13:55 GMT),just off a two-year high of $56.24 hit overnight.
Elsewhere, Brent oil for January delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London was up 37 cents or about 0.60% at $62.45 a barrel, off a two-year high of $62.87 hit earlier in the day.
Under the original terms of the deal, OPEC and 10 other non-OPEC countries led by Russia agreed to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) for six months. The agreement was extended in May of this year for a period of nine more months until March 2018 in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.
Discussions are continuing in the run-up to the Nov. 30 meeting, which oil ministers from OPEC and the participating non-OPEC countries will attend.
Prices received another boost as a sizable weekly drop in active U.S. oil rigs to the lowest level since May fed expectations for a slowdown in domestic crude output growth.
Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell by eight to 729 last week. That was the fourth weekly decline in five.
The weekly rig count is an important barometer for the drilling industry and serves as a proxy for domestic oil production.
Meanwhile, market players kept a watchful eye on developments in Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman cemented his power over the weekend through an anti-corruption crackdown that included high-profile arrests.