Oil prices wobbled between small gains and losses Friday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies didn't make a recommendation on whether the group should extend its oil cuts.
Light, sweet crude for November delivery edged up 11 cents, or 0.2%, to $50.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the global benchmark, inched up 0.8% to $56.86.
OPEC members met Friday ahead of the cartel's next full meeting in November amid uncertainty about whether the group will continue to limit supply. OPEC and several other producers agreed late last year to cap production through March 2018.
Representatives from Nigeria and Libya, two of the countries that were exempt from the production cut deal and have posed a challenge to OPEC by boosting production, didn't commit to supply caps Friday. Investors and analysts said OPEC is keeping the prospect for future production cuts on the table without committing until it has more information.
"There's a little bit of disappointment for the market that there wasn't an extension recommended," said John Kilduff, founding partner at Again Capital. Still, Mr. Kilduff said it was encouraging that Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said the group held "intensive discussions" about Nigerian and Libyan production.
Crude oil prices have risen in three consecutive weeks and are up 7.3% this month, with demand increasing recently as refiners that were disrupted by Hurricane Harvey bring operations back online.
Many investors and analysts are waiting to see if prices can stay at their current levels as refiners put hurricane-related disruptions behind them. Fall is traditionally a weaker demand season.
"Any near term corrections over the next month I'm going to be looking at as buying opportunities in oil," said John Caruso, senior trader at RJ O'Brien & Associates LLC. Mr. Caruso said he was encouraged by increased demand recently and would be bullish on oil prices if they get above $52, a key technical level.
Investors and analysts were also keeping an eye on a Kurdish independence referendum planned for Monday.
One of the regions that will vote on its independence is the province of Kirkuk in Iraq. The area has oil reserves of around 45 billion barrels, similar to Nigeria, according to analysts.
The outcome of the referendum could cause disruptions to the oil sector in the region because "unrest cannot be ruled out," said Commerzbank analysts in a Friday note.
Gasoline futures rose 1.5% to $1.6684 a gallon, and diesel futures advanced 0.1% to $1.8163, posting their highest close since July 2015. Diesel futures have risen in five straight weeks.
--Benoit Faucon contributed to this article.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 22, 2017 15:38 ET (19:38 GMT)