Iran wants OPEC to work to keep oil prices around $60 a barrel to contain USA shale producers, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told The Wall Street Journal in a rare interview, while Saudi Arabia has played down shale's ability to upset the market and has indicated $70 for oil is acceptable.
WTI settled down 68 cents to $61.36 per barrel while Brent fell 50 cents to $64.99 per barrel.
Brent sweet crude, Nigeria's brand, climbed to 65.70 dollars per barrel, up 21 cents, or 0.3 per cent, from its previous close. The contract rose 3% Friday, to end at $65.49 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange-up 1.7% for the week.
A difference of opinion between members the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries over whether higher oil prices could stimulate USA shale output and crash the market spilled out into the open at the weekend.
"The big take away is the implied annual rate of change", James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics, told MarketWatch.
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The report followed data from the EIA last week (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-under-pressure-ahead-of-us-supply-data-2018-03-07), which showed an increase of 86,000 barrels a day in total USA crude output for the week ending March 2.
That has undercut some of the enthusiasm for oil, as investors weigh increased U.S. supply against the likelihood that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers will maintain supply cuts that have been in effect for more than a year. That split is driven by differing views over whether $70 a barrel sends USA shale companies into a production frenzy that could cause prices to crash.
Hedge funds and money managers pared their bullish wagers on United States crude oil, with long positions falling last week for the first time in three weeks.
According to NAN, in oil markets, USA energy companies last week cut oil rigs for the first time in nearly two months with drillers cutting back four rigs, to 796, Baker Hughes (GE.N) energy services firm was quoted as saying last Friday.
The oil production in the United States is not the only problem.