US oil prices rose on Tuesday to move away from a nearly two-month low struck the day before, pushed higher by expectations of falling shale output and renewed optimism that OPEC will deliver on touted production cuts.
U.S. crude futures for December delivery had climbed 41 cents, or 1 percent, to $43.73 a barrel by 0106 GMT. January Brent futures were up 31 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $44.74 per barrel.
Prices were buoyed by expectations that U.S. shale oil production will in December fall to its lowest since April 2014 at 4.5 million barrels per day (bpd).
“Crude oil prices stabilised after several days of continued falls,” Australian bank ANZ said in a note on Tuesday.
“Headlines around increasing OPEC production remained prevalent, although the focus switched to final diplomatic efforts from nations to agree to a production cut.”
Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said it was imperative for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reach a consensus on activating a deal made in September to curb production, according to Algeria’s state news agency APS on Sunday. OPEC members are due to meet later this month.
Also supporting oil markets was news that Harold Hamm, chief executive at U.S. independent oil producer Continental Resources, could serve as energy secretary when Donald Trump becomes U.S. president.
Hamm, if nominated would be the first U.S. energy secretary drawn directly from the industry, a move that would jolt environmental advocates but bolster Trump’s pro-drilling energy platform.
Elsewhere, Iraq will cut exports of Basra crude from its southern ports to 3.16 million bpd in December, compared with 3.24 million bpd in November. The allocated December volume will be the lowest in four months.
Meanwhile, returning Libyan crude oil production could cap market gains.
A tanker carrying the first freshly produced cargo of Libyan crude to be exported since the Ras Lanuf terminal reopened in September left the port on Monday. The reopening of the eastern ports has helped Libya’s national production double to around 600,000 bpd.