U.S. light crude CLc1 was steady at $56.81, not too far off this week’s more than two-year high of $57.69 a barrel.
“Prices may have reached a short-term peak,” said Fawad Razaqzada, analyst at futures brokerage Forex.com.
OPEC will discuss output during a meeting on Nov. 30, and is expected to extend the limits beyond their expiry in March 2018.
“With the OPEC/non-OPEC deal extension beyond March 2018 a certainty, prices may become stronger and temporarily reach the $65-$70 per barrel range in 2018,” said energy consultancy FGE.
Despite this, many analysts say the price rally of the past months may have run its course, at least for now.
U.S. crude stockpiles C-STK-T-EIA rose 2.2 million barrels in the week to Nov. 3, to 457.14 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, contrary to analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 2.9 million barrels.
U.S. crude production C-OUT-T-EIA inched up 67,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 9.62 million bpd, the highest on record.
Output looks set to rise further. Texas issued 997 oil and gas drilling permits last month, up nearly 17 percent versus the same month a year ago, the state’s energy regulator said on Wednesday.
Key for the last weeks of 2017 is whether traders remain confident about their huge bets on further price rises, or if they sell out, satisfied with recent strong gains.
“It doesn’t matter how bullish the fundamentals are … when an asset goes vertical there is always room for a pullback and consolidation of recent price moves,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at brokerage AxiTrader.
Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by Susan Fenton