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Crude dips as market waits for OPEC meeting

New York — Crude pulled back from early-session highs to settle lower as the market digested mixed signals from OPEC leaders ahead of the group's meeting in Vienna this week.

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ICE February Brent settled 52 cents lower at $61.56/b and NYMEX January WTI was down 36 cents at $52.89/b at market close Wednesday.

The six-country OPEC/non-OPEC monitoring committee is recommending a six-month production cut of "at least 1 million b/d" using a baseline of either September or October production levels, Omani Oil Minister Mohammed al-Rumhy said.

But no firm volumes nor individual quotas had been agreed to yet, he told reporters after the committee met in Vienna, a day ahead of OPEC's full meeting and its talks with Russia and nine other non-OPEC members, including Oman, on Friday.

OPEC is scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday and is widely expected to agree to cut its output to support prices. But specific details regarding the expected decision have been scarce, offering the market little insight into the size of any potential cut. S&P Global Platts Analytics forecasts a 1.2 million b/d-1.4 million b/d reduction compared with October's output.

Earlier on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump called for OPEC to maintain production levels and keep oil prices low.

"Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted," Trump said in a tweet. "The world does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!"

Oil prices briefly faltered following the tweet, but then posted fresh intraday highs, suggesting market confidence in an expected production cut.

Enbridge has returned its crude and petroleum liquids pipelines back to service as power has been restored in Saskatchewan, the company said Wednesday.

"Our Mainline system -- which includes Lines 1, 2a, 3, 4, and 67 -- as well as Line 13 have been returned to service," the company said in a statement. "We may see intermittent service outages with Saskpower."

Product futures finished the day mixed. NYMEX January ULSD settled down 1.23 cents at $1.8886/gal, but NYMEX January RBOB finished the day 22 points higher at $1.4456/gal. -- Chris van Moessner, christopher.vanmoessner@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Annie Siebert, newsdesk@spglobal.com