Oil prices steady as investors watch for OPEC signals

Watchdog slams Yemen rebels

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures CLc1 lost 46 cents to reach $49.16 a barrel, after reaching a high of $50.22 a barrel earlier in the day.

Brent crude futures were at US$53.07 (RM233.54) per barrel at 0113 GMT, up eight cents from their last close.

US production has jumped nearly 10 percent since mid-2016 to 9.25 million bpd, close to the world's top two producers, Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.

US futures are now down in every session this week, shedding 7% since they hit a one-month high April 11. The producers need to extend their deal to cut supplies through the end of the year amid concerns that Russian Federation is lagging behind on its pledged reductions, the bank said.

Novak said last week that "It still remains unclear whether the agreement should be extended".

WTI crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, is down by 1.5% at $49.96 per barrel, while Brent crude oil, the worldwide benchmark, is down by 1.2% at $52.34 per barrel as of 11:02 a.m. ET.

OPEC and Russian Federation haven't reached a final agreement on extending output limits. But other statements coming from OPEC leaders have equivocated too much to give traders confidence in the cartel's next move, with plenty of wiggle room left for members to agree to output cuts for only another three months - instead of six - or backtrack from an extension, brokers and analysts said.

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Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said consensus was growing among oil producers that a supply restraint pact that started in January should be prolonged after its initial six-month term.

Both the Brent and WTI oil benchmarks are down more than 7.5 per cent since the end of a year ago. That rose to 3.06 billion barrels in January due to a late surge in OPEC shipments before the cuts came into force. Right now, oil is selling for over $50 a barrel on global markets.

Compliance from non-OPEC members has increased, al-Marzouq said, adding that Russian Federation is preliminarily consenting to a likely extension.

"I believe OPEC will continue its policy of restraining production", Paolo Scaroni, former chief executive officer of Italian oil major Eni SpA and current vice chairman of NM Rothschild & Sons, said in an interview with Bloomberg television Wednesday.

The upcoming OPEC meeting may prove ineffective, says Valentin Zemlyansky, director for energy programs at the Center of World Economy and International Relations of the Ukraine National Academy of Sciences.

USA crude output may rise by 455,000 barrels a day in the fourth quarter from a year earlier across the Permian, Eagle Ford, Bakken and Niobrara shale plays, assuming the rig count remains at current levels, according to Goldman Sachs.

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