Oil prices were largely steady on Friday, and looked set to finish the week with modest gains after losing almost 10 percent last week on concerns that an OPEC production cut was failing to reduce a global supply overhang.
Crude traded in a narrow band this week, with Brent and West Texas Intermediate bouncing in a $2.50 range as investors weighed the impact of the first oil cut from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in eight years against rising U.S. shale oil output and high inventories.
However, oil has not been able to reclaim the range that prevailed through most of 2017 before last week's rout. Instead of rebounding to $53 a barrel, U.S. crude has remained stuck around $49. Analysts anticipate that regaining the old levels may be difficult without significant drawdown in inventories.
"I think that most are just reassessing the current state of direction. Everyone who was bulled up the past few months has turned," said Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks and Opinions in Houston.
The potential for increased U.S. production continues to build, as Baker Hughes weekly rig count data showed an increase of 14 drilling rigs in the United States.