Weekly outlook of Crude oil prices (April 30 to May4)
Crude prices have been well-supported by a growing consensus in the market that President Donald Trump will move to pull the U.S. out of a 2015 international accord to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
That would likely result in a reduction of Tehran's oil exports, which would further tighten global supplies.
The Trump administration has until May 12 to make a decision.
Oil traders will also continue to weigh a steady increase in U.S. production levels in the week ahead as the rise in U.S. drilling marked one of the few factors tamping back crude in an otherwise bullish environment.
U.S. drillers added five oil rigs in the week to April 27, bringing the total count to 825,General Electric (NYSE:GE)'s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.
That was the highest number since March 2015, underscoring worries about rising U.S. output.
Indeed, domestic oil production - driven by shale extraction - rose to an all-time high of 10.59 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.
Only Russia currently produces more, at around 11 million bpd.
Yet, underlying sentiment in the oil market remained positive amid ongoing investor expectations that OPEC-led supply cuts would continue to rid the market of excess supplies.
OPEC and 10 producers outside the cartel, including Russia, have been holding back oil output by around 1.8 million bpd since the start of last year to slash global inventories to the five year-average. The arrangement is set to expire at the end of 2018.
OPEC will meet in June to decide whether the production-cut agreement should be adjusted based on market conditions.
Saudi Arabia, OPEC's de-facto leader, has recently indicated the participants could continue to hold back output into next year, despite evidence the glut in global supplies have shrunk to levels just above the oil cartel's target.
New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude futures dipped 9 cents, or 0.1%, on Friday to end at $68.10 a barrel by close of trade, leaving it down 0.4% for the week.
Meanwhile, London-traded Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., shed 10 cents to settle at $74.64 a barrel.
The global benchmark breached the symbolic $75-a-barrel threshold for the first time since late 2014 earlier in the week.
It logged a third week of gains, up by 0.5%, bolstered by geopolitical tension in the Middle East and concerns about supply disruptions in key oil-producing nations, such as Venezuela.
In the week ahead, oil traders will await fresh data on U.S. commercial crude inventories on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer and how fast output levels will continue to rise.
Comments from global oil producers for additional signals on whether they plan to extend their current production-cut agreement into next year will also remain on the forefront.
Geopolitics will also likely keep investors on their toes this week.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of the main events likely to affect the oil market.
Tuesday-- American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.
Wednesday--The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on oil and gasoline stockpiles.
Thursday--The U.S. government will publish a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.
FRIDAY--Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.