Oil Prices Head Lower on Increased U.S. Drilling Activity, OPEC Meeting in Focus By Investing.com

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Investing.com – Oil prices traded lower on Monday after logging its longest stretch of weekly gains in nearly three years, while signs of increased drilling activity in the U.S. urged profit-taking ahead of a meeting of major oil producers.

New York-traded fell 57 cents, or 0.9%, at $63.32 a barrel by 8:42 AM ET (12:42 GMT), pulling back from last week’s five-month high of $64.79.

Meanwhile, , the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., traded down 59 cents, or 0.8%, to $70.96.

Data from Baker Hughes showed on Friday that the , an early indicator of future output in the U.S., rose by two units last week after the previous week’s 15-rig climb. The longer oil prices stay at their current elevated levels, the likelier it is that U.S. shale producers will increase output, offsetting OPEC-led efforts to reduce supply.

While the cartel and allies led by Russia hold fast to output curbs to reduce the global supply glut, U.S. production is running at record highs with the latest data from the Energy Information Administration showing output of 12.2 million barrels a day.

Oil ministers from OPEC, Russia and other major exporting countries will on Wednesday and Thursday to decide on production policy for the next six months. Reports suggest the group will hold off on a “definitive” decision on whether to extend the agreement given that it currently lasts through June.

“Even with bulls expected to continue with their push for $65 U.S. crude and $73 Brent this week, the more discerning longs in the space will watch for signs of Russian reluctance to stay with OPEC production cuts beyond June – an outcome that could seriously weigh on the oil rally,” Investing.com senior commodity analyst .

In other energy trading, fell 1.4% to $2.0083 a gallon by 8:45 AM ET (12:45 GMT), while lost 1.0% to $2.0511 a gallon.

Lastly, traded down 1.4% to $2.622 per million British thermal unit.

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