Oil prices lost steam heading into Thursday's U.S. crude settlement, as expectations of an OPEC deal to limit production were offset by oversupply concerns and a rallying dollar capped earlier gains.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday he was optimistic the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would formalize a preliminary oil output deal reached in Algeria in September.
"I'm still optimistic that the consensus reached in Algeria for capping production will translate, God willing, into caps on states' levels and fair and balanced cuts among countries," he told Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV.
Falih said he believed the market was on its way to becoming balanced and that an agreement by OPEC at its meeting in Vienna on Nov. 30 would speed the recovery. He also said OPEC should cut oil output to 32.5 million barrels per day (bpd), the lower end of a previously agreed range.