Oil prices steadied on Monday as U.S. production hit a record-high and OPEC members considered boosting supply to balance rising global demand.
Benchmark Brent crude oil was unchanged at $76.79 a barrel by 0730 GMT. U.S. light crude was up 5 cents at 65.86 a barrel. Last week, the U.S. contract lost around 3 percent, adding to a near 5-percent decline from a week before.
“We are going into summer, the high demand season, and I think we are going to see a fall in U.S. crude oil inventories, but shale oil output is growing. Which one is going to win is the issue,” said Tony Nunan, risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp.
U.S. crude production climbed in March to 10.47 million barrels per day (bpd), a monthly record, data from the Energy Information Administration showed last week.
U.S. drillers added two oil rigs in the week to June 1, bringing the total to 861, the most since March 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday. That was the eighth time drillers have added rigs in the past nine weeks.
Arab oil ministers agreed over the weekend on the need for continued cooperation between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other big producers to balance global supply, Kuwait’s state news agency KUNA reported on Sunday.
OPEC ministers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Algeria along with their counterpart from non-OPEC Oman met unofficially in Kuwait on Saturday.
OPEC meets formally on June 22 to set oil policy. It is expected to agree to raise output to cool the market amid worries over Iranian and Venezuelan supply and after Washington raised concerns the oil rally was going too far, OPEC sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters last month.
Saudi Arabia, effective OPEC leader, and Russia have discussed boosting output to compensate for supply losses from Venezuela and to address concerns about the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iranian output.
Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft will be able to restore 70,000 bpd of oil output in just two days if global production limits are lifted, Renaissance Capital wrote in a client note.
Hedge funds and other money managers cut their bullish wagers on U.S. crude futures and options, according to data released on Friday, as oil prices slumped on oversupply fears.