Russian Federation is becoming increasingly convinced it needs to reduce oil output in tandem with OPEC but is still bargaining with the producer group's leader, Saudi Arabia, over the timing and volume of any reduction, two industry sources told Reuters. The more-active February contract lost 1.3%.
USA crude stockpiles rose last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) industry group said on Tuesday.
Asked on Wednesday whether cuts could be deeper than 1.4 million bpd, Falih declined to answer.
Saudi Arabia dampened hopes of production cuts by OPEC and its allies by saying on Wednesday that it would not act alone and Nigeria stopped short of committing to a new push to curb supplies.
The Russian Energy Ministry held a meeting with the heads of domestic oil producers on Tuesday, ahead of a gathering in Vienna of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies on December 6-7. Iraq, which objected to output limits in 2016, may dig in its heels again.
Saudi Arabia knows full well that it needs to bank on the United States support at the hard moment when its role in Khashoggi killing earned it global condemnation. "Now the Saudis are seeking a very broad agreement where everyone accepts some cuts", said Olivier Jakob, managing director at consultant Petromatrix in Zug, Switzerland. It needs to keep revenues high to help its economy climb out of recession and finance ambitious social and economic transformation programmes. Its citizens continue to endure power outages and inadequate access to clean water.
"The idea at the meeting was that Russian Federation needs to reduce".
What happens at the G20 will effectively determine the outcome of the meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies.
Just a few hours after WTI Crude dipped below $50, oil prices wiped out losses and started climbing on Thursday after reports that Russian Federation has conceded that it needs to reduce oil production and join a new Saudi-led OPEC cut to balance the market. Its November production surged to an all-time record above 11 MMbpd, prompting a jubilant response on Twitter.
Expectations that US sanctions would take a substantial portion of Iran oil supply off the market have not materialized.
Around this period, global crude prices dropped more than 30 percent.
"With fears over excessive supply and worries about falling demand the primary themes weighing on oil markets, the outlook for Brent Crude and WTI remains bearish", said Lukman Otunuga, analyst at futures brokerage FXTM.
But the United States also offered generous waivers to allies who imported Iranian crude and might have struggled to find other supplies quickly when U.S. sanctions kicked in on November 4.