Futures slid as much as 0.8 percent in NY after climbing to a two-week high on Wednesday.
Both crudes gained around 1 percent during their previous sessions, lifted by official data showing a 6.5 million-barrel fall in U.S. crude inventories C-STK-T-EIA in the week to December 15 to 436 million barrels, the lowest since October 2015. Yet there are signs traders see limited scope for further gains, as ICE Futures Europe exchange data showed hedge funds have cut net bullish bets on Brent crude from record levels.
West Texas Intermediate for February delivery was at $58.02/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 34 cents, at 1:49 p.m.in London.
The energy minister of Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter and OPEC's de-facto leader, said it would take more time to rein in a global supply overhang, which was created by strong global production increases in the years up to 2015.
US oil output is close to breaking through 10 million bpd, undermining efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russian Federation to tighten the market through withholding supply this year and next.
"Underpinning the solid price recovery over the last 12 months is OPEC, which succeeded in reasserting its pricing influence over the oil market", said Stephen Brennock, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd.in London. Brent Crude Oil price at London's IСE Stock Exchange up by 0.77% to $64.39 per barrel. However, the Brent variety reported a 0.05% drop to 64.53 Dollars per barrel. Prices are up 2.2% this week.
"Traders who are flat and waiting for a dip will come in on the first trading day of the month in January in 2018 with a fresh P&L wondering if $60 WTI and $66 Brent are buys or not". It expects to complete repairs to a hairline crack on the link by "around Christmas".