Oil rose for the first time in three sessions after the number of active rigs fell in the U.S., potentially easing a supply glut.
Futures pared gains after advancing as much as 1.7 percent in New York, from a 4.8 percent loss in the previous two sessions. Rigs targeting oil in the U.S. fell by 15 to 372, according to Baker Hughes Inc. More than 150 have been parked since the start of the year. U.S. data last week showed inventories rose by more than three times what was forecast, while imports increased to the highest since June 2013. Trading was closed Friday for the Good Friday holiday.
“We are likely to remain range-bound” at about $40 plus or minus a dollar or two, until some of the world’s largest producers gather in Doha next month to discuss a proposed output freeze, Victor Shum, a vice president for Asia Pacific at consultant IHS Inc., said by telephone. “Last Friday was a holiday, so it’s fairly quiet,” he said.
Oil has climbed back from a 12-year low earlier this year on speculation that the global surplus will ease as U.S. output declines and major producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia discuss capping output. Iran and Libya are the only two OPEC members that haven’t pledged to attend production-freeze talks.
Talk among producers of a freeze has supported prices, Shum said. All the same, he said, “these guys cannot just talk. The meeting has to achieve something, or the price support we are seeing is going to disappear.”