Oil extended gains after the biggest weekly advance in almost four years as signs of a drilling slowdown in the U.S. bolstered speculation that companies are cutting back crude production amid a global glut.

Futures rose as much as 3.3 percent in New York after climbing 7.2 percent last week. Drillers reduced the number of rigs in service by 83 to 1,140, the lowest level since December 2011, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. Oil workers at two BP Plc plants in the Midwest joined the biggest strike at refineries across the nation since 1980 as negotiations on a new labor contract stalled.

Oil slid almost 50 percent last year as U.S. producers pumped crude at the fastest pace in more than three decades. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries also resisted calls to cut supply, signaling it would fight to maintain market share. Venezuela wants OPEC to discuss steps to halt price fluctuations, according to Oil Minister Asdrubal Chavez.

WTI for March delivery increased as much as $1.71 to $53.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $52.01 at 1:31 p.m. Singapore time. The contract gained $1.21 to $51.69 on Feb. 6. The volume of all futures traded was about 57 percent above the 100-day average.

Source : Bloomberg