Oil futures were slightly lower on Monday, with market players digesting a rising US rig count while awaiting fresh stockpiles data later in the week.
The US West Texas Intermediate crude contracts were down 0.09 percent to $57.31 per barrel as of 08:00 GMT. Meanwhile, Brent futures eased 0.02 percent to $63.39 a barrel.
Ahead this week, investors will be paying attention to monthly production reports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency to assess the rebalancing efforts in the oil market.
On Friday, crude prices were supported by trade figures from China, showing oil imports added to 9.01 million barrels per day in November, marking a second peak. The Asian giant seems to be on track to replace the US as the world’s first crude importer.
Despite that fact, concerns that OPEC-led efforts will be derailed by increasing crude production in the United States weighed on participants’ sentiment.
Recently, OPEC and a group of independent producers led by Russia agreed to extend output cuts beyond the March 2018 deadline for a nine-month period at a 1.8 million bpd target.
Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes said last week the number of oil rigs operating in the US rose by two, leaving the total count at 751 units, the highest level since September.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, national production increased to 9.71 million bpd in the previous week, a level not seen since 1970’s.
The American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly crude and refined products stockpiles report on Tuesday, followed by official data on Wednesday.