Oil steady as talk of new OPEC deal balances US exports

LONDON: Oil prices steadied on Thursday on expectations that Saudi Arabia and Russia would extend production cuts, although record US exports and the return of supply from a Libyan oilfield dragged on the market.
“Oil news is contradictory,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “OPEC and Russia are talking about extending production limits, but there’s still plenty of supply with US crude exports up sharply.”
Brent crude LCOc1 was up 20 cents at $56.00 a barrel by 0800 GMT. US light crude CLc1 was unchanged at $49.98.
Both crude benchmarks have fallen more than 5 per cent over the last week as investors have booked profits after almost three months of gains.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that a pledge by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, including Russia, to cut oil output to boost prices could be extended to the end of 2018, instead of expiring in March 2018.
The statement came ahead of a visit by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to Moscow.
“Putin and Salman will most likely reach, but not announce, an agreement to extend the OPEC/non-OPEC production deal, though with a commitment to taper the cuts,” said consultancy Eurasia Group. — Reuters