Oil Advances on Production Cap Discussions

By Stephanie Yang and Sarah McFarlaneFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Oil prices advanced Thursday, boosted by discussions between OPEC and Russia to continue a plan to curb production and support prices.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery rose 81 cents, or 1.6%, to $50.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, gained $1.20, or 2.2%, to $57.00 a barrel.

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Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Thursday to discuss continuing efforts to push up oil prices by limiting output from major producers within and outside of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Last month, U.S. oil futures entered a bull market on signs that OPEC cuts were finally having an impact on the global supply glut. In the Thursday meeting, the two leaders talked about extending Russia's participation but came to no new agreements, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The original deal, struck nearly a year ago between OPEC and 10 other non-OPEC countries, was to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day for six months. The agreement was extended in May of this year to continue through the first quarter of 2018, though some analysts have speculated that it may be extended even further.

"It's back to the media," said Dominick Chirichella, an analyst at the Energy Management Institute. "The market's gotten a little more confident that Russia is going to work with OPEC most likely to extend the accord."

The possibility of another tropical storm disrupting oil production in the Gulf of Mexico also has the market on edge, analysts said. According to the National Hurricane Center, tropical storm Nate is expected to strengthen into a hurricane and make landfall this weekend near New Orleans.

The threat of another storm halting some production helped add to the bullish sentiment Thursday, said Ric Navy, senior vice president for energy futures at R.J. O'Brien & Associates LLC.

"Buyers become a bit more aggressive," he said. "It makes [oil] a little more vulnerable to rallies, and that's what we're seeing."

On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that crude stockpiles fell by 6 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 29, largely exceeding analyst expectations. However, U.S. exports climbed to nearly 2 million barrels a day and shale production increased, igniting concerns that the shipment of more crude into international markets could exacerbate global oversupply.

"That's keeping us cautious on the space [and] cautious on prices," said Chris Kettenmann, chief energy strategist at New York-based Macro Risk Advisors.

Prices for oil products also rallied Thursday, with gasoline futures rising 2% to $1.6114 a gallon and diesel futures increasing 0.7% to $1.7863 a gallon.

Benoit Faucon, Summer Said and Sarah McFarlane contributed to this article.

Write to Stephanie Yang at stephanie.yang@wsj.com and Sarah McFarlane at sarah.mcfarlane@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 05, 2017 15:59 ET (19:59 GMT)