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Oil rises ahead of Opec meeting, capped by rising US output

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Oil edged up on Tuesday, supported by expectations that Opec and other producing countries next week would extend output cuts, but signs of higher US crude output kept prices under pressure.

[NEW YORK] Oil edged up on Tuesday, supported by expectations that Opec and other producing countries next week would extend output cuts, but signs of higher US crude output kept prices under pressure.

"Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and a deteriorating macroeconomic picture in Venezuela will remain supportive of oil prices in the run-up to the November Opec meeting," said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy's Global Gas Analytics in London.

"However, persistently high oil production in the United States will be the predominant bearish factor limiting gains in oil prices," Mr Kumar noted.

Brent futures rose 35 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to settle at US$62.57 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 41 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to settle at US$56.83 per barrel.

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The American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry trade group, was due to release its data on US crude inventories at 4.30pm EST (2130 GMT) on Tuesday. Official US government inventory data was due on Wednesday morning.

Analysts in a Reuters poll forecast US weekly crude stocks declined 1.5 million barrels in the week ended Nov 17.

Analysts said Brent was expected to fluctuate in a range beetween US$61 and US$63 ahead of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' meeting on Nov 30.

Opec, Russia and other producers are expected to extend a deal to cut output to fight a global supply overhang and support prices. The deal's expiry date is currently March 2018.

"The market is just waiting for confirmation that Opec wants to move on with the extension," said Ole Hansen, senior manager at Saxo Bank.

Doubts about the willingness of some participants including Russia to keep restricting production have weighed on prices.

Russian news agency TASS reported that the country's oil producers had met with the energy ministry to discuss a six-month extension, as opposed to the nine months originally floated by President Vladimir Putin.

In Venezuela, authorities arrested the acting president of its US-based refiner Citgo and five of its top executives on corruption accusations, the chief prosecutor said.

The biggest headache for Opec has been a rise in US drilling activity, led by shale oil producers.

Energy consultancy Westwood Global Energy Group said US output would climb even faster than implied by the rising oil rig count, which has jumped from 316 rigs in mid-2016 to 738 last week, as producers become more productive per well.

"Westwood Global Energy forecasts an 18 per cent increase in active rigs in 2018," the consultancy said.

REUTERS

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