The U.S. oil rig decline supported higher crude oil prices on Thursday, which for this week represents the end of the trading since European and U.S. markets are closed to observe Good Friday.
International benchmark ended Thursday at $71.95 per barrel -- up 0.46% for the day. American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed the day with a 0.38% gain at $64 a barrel.
The number of oil rigs in the U.S., which indicates the short-term oil production in the country, was down eight to 925 for the week ending April 18, oilfield services company Baker Hughes said Thursday.
Crude oil prices were slightly up during the week with declines in U.S. crude oil inventories and production, in addition to the possibility that OPEC and Russia could ramp up their production in the second half of 2019.
Brent crude posted a 0.5% increase for the week, while WTI gained 0.2% to end this week.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 455.2 million barrels for the week ending April 12, the U.S.' Energy Information Administration (EIA) released Wednesday.
While gasoline inventories in the U.S. also decreased by 1.2 million barrels, or 0.5 percent, to 228 million barrels during that period, the U.S.' crude oil production was down by 106,000 barrels per day (bpd) to around 12.1 million bpd (mbpd) last week, the EIA data showed.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov signaled on April 13 that OPEC and its allies including Russia, dubbed as OPEC+, could boost their production levels to regain their share in the global oil market.
Siluanov said if the OPEC+ production cut deal is scrapped, oil prices would decline and U.S. shale output would be lower, since production cost for American shale industry is higher than conventional oil production.
By Ovunc Kutlu