TOKYO Feb 22 U.S. oil prices held near
seven-week highs on Wednesday after OPEC signaled optimism over
its deal with other producers including Russia to curb
production and clear a glut that has weighed on the market since
The U.S. April crude contract, the new front-month
future, was up 3 cents at $54.36 a barrel at 0028 GMT. On
Tuesday, the March contract expired up 66 cents, or 1.2 percent,
at $54.06, after peaking at $54.68, the highest since Jan. 3.
Brent crude was yet to trade after ending the
previous session at $56.66 a barrel, up 48 cents or 0.9 percent.
It earlier reached its highest since Feb. 2 at $57.31.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and
other producers outside the group agreed in November to cut
output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in an effort
to drain a glut that has depressed prices for over two years.
Mohammad Barkindo, OPEC secretary general, told an industry
conference in London that January data showed conformity from
member countries participating in the output cut had been above
90 percent. Oil inventories would decline further this year, he
"All countries involved remain resolute in the determination
to achieve a higher level of conformity," Barkindo said.
Russia and the other outside producers have so far delivered
a smaller percentage of cuts, but Barkindo said this would
It was too early to say if the supply cut, which lasts for
six months from Jan. 1, would need to be extended or deepened at
the next OPEC meeting in May, he said.
(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Richard Pullin)