Oil prices stand still in market push-pull

The average price of Oman oil for November delivery stabilised at $54.02

Last week the oilfield services firm said that its weekly count of oil rigs operating in the US fell by seven to 736, chalking up its third straight decline to the lowest level since June.

Futures fell 0.6 percent in NY, halting three sessions of gains.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers have cut oil output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd).

Crude oil supplies from northern Iraq have fallen after the central government took control of oil fields in disputed territories from Kurdish forces.

OPEC is considering an exit strategy to avoid flooding the market once the agreement finally expires, people familiar with the talks said this week.

Brent futures LCOc1 gained 86 cents, or 1.64 percent, to settle at $60.01 a barrel, its highest close since July 2015.

WTI for December delivery lost 2 cents to $52.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $6.26 to WTI, the widest in more than four weeks. Total volume traded was about 9 percent below the 100-day average.

Iraq's 18.8 MMbbl in oil shipments to the U.S. last month topped those from the kingdom, the world's biggest oil exporter, by about 2.9 MMbbl, according to U.S. Customs Bureau data compiled by Bloomberg oil-market specialist Bert Gilbert. "Initially, it was thought to be related to the hurricane, but to me it's becoming a little more structural".

Global inventories remain above the five-year average with United States crude adding to existing stockpiles.

The kingdom has been a larger supplier to the US for most of the past quarter century, data from the Energy Information Administration show.

"What is interesting is that the pop in WTI futures moved above the September 28 high", said David Thompson, executive vice president at Powerhouse, an energy-specialized commodities broker in Washington.

The spread, or difference, between Brent and WTI means USA oil is more competitive against other benchmarks in some markets.

TransCanada Corp said in a filing on Thursday that it is seeking to raise the temporary discounted spot rate for light crude on its 700,000 barrel-per-day Marketlink pipeline.

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