Oil prices rise amid lower United States oil rig count

International Brent crude futures were at 66.87 dollars per barrel at 0326 GMT down 20 cents or 0.3 per cent from their last close

Brent crude futures at $67.18 per barrel, eight cents above their last close.

OPEC and some non-affiliated producers such as Russian Federation agreed late a year ago to cut output by 1.2 million bpd to prevent a large supply overhang from growing. "Anything positive on trade talks will boost the oil price".

Oil prices eased off 2019 highs on Thursday ahead of USA government data that was expected to show a fifth weekly build in crude inventories, while concerns about slowing global economic growth weighed, Trend reports referring to Reuters.

Prices however remained just below 2019 peaks reached earlier this week as U.S. That makes it "the only country ever to reach this milestone", said Stephen Brennock, analyst at brokerage PVM Oil Associates Ltd.

The broad outline of a possible U.S. "China trade talks amidst potential weakening in the US dollar, WTI could easily achieve our stated target to the $58 area today", Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a note.

Meanwhile, crude inventories in West Texas fell to the lowest in four months after an additional pipeline started transporting crude from the largest US shale field to the Gulf Coast, largely for exports, data from market intelligence provider Genscape showed.

According to the Weekly Petroleum Status Report, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increased by 3.7 million barrels from the previous week.

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"We see total United States crude production hitting 13-million bpd by year-end, with 2019 averaging 12.5-million bpd", United States bank Citi said following the release of the EIA report.

Friday's dips at least temporarily halted a rally that pushed crude prices this week to their highest for 2019 so far amid the supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

With U.S. supply surging, Goldman Sachs said it expected non-OPEC supply to grow by 1.9 million bpd this year, more than offsetting the OPEC cuts.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories rose by 3.7-million barrels to 454.5-million barrels in the week ended February 15, the EIA said.

At the same time, two key OPEC members exempt from the deal - Venezuela and Iran - have seen production fall as a result of USA sanctions on both of those countries' oil industries.

That means much will depend on demand, which Goldman said it expected to grow by 1.4 million bpd this year. Goldman said it expected an average Brent price of $60-$65 per barrel in 2019 and 2020.

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