Oil extended gains above $36 a barrel as U.S. drillers cut the number of active rigs to the lowest in more than six years amid a global glut.
Futures advanced as much as 1.6 percent in New York and oil in London extended its longest run of gains since November. Rigs targeting oil fell by 8 to 392, the smallest level since December 2009, according to Baker Hughes Inc. That is the 11th week of declines. Hedge funds unwound bearish bets at the fastest pace in 10 months, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data, as the prospect of prices sinking to $20 a barrel faded.
Oil on Friday capped the longest run of weekly gains since May as U.S. crude output fell to the lowest since November 2014, even as rising stockpiles kept supplies at the most in more than eight decades. A meeting among major producers to discuss freezing output may be held in Russia, Doha or Vienna during the March 20 to April 1 period, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on state television Rossiya 24. There is no final decision on timing yet, Novak said.
West Texas Intermediate for April delivery rose as much as 57 cents to $36.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $36.40 at 9:49 a.m. Hong Kong time. The contract climbed $1.35 to $35.92 on Friday, the highest close since Jan. 5. Total volume traded was about 15 percent above the 100-day average. Prices posted a third weekly gain on Friday.
Brent for May settlement increased as much as 56 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $39.28 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract rose 10 percent last week. The global benchmark crude was at a premium of 97 cents to WTI for May.