"Balancing the market, i.e. aligning the somewhat uncertain global demand growth and the somewhat erratic USA sanction policies toward Iran and Venezuela with the shale boom, rests on Saudi Arabia and its allies", said Carsten Menke, commodities research analyst at Julius Baer.
"We'll just have to watch trade talks in DC today".
Although crude prices have ended higher this week, rising US crude oil production continues to worry investors that the glut of supply in the global oil market could be here to stay for longer while halting crude's upward price trajectory. "Anything positive on trade talks will boost the oil price".
Oil prices were firm on Friday, supported by OPEC's ongoing supply cuts and hopes that Washington and Beijing may soon end their trade dispute. The US is the only country to have reached 12-million bpd of production to date.
Some analysts were quick to point out that oil prices would likely have climbed above 2019 highs but concerns over a slowdown in global economic growth have left investors skittish.
US commercial crude oil inventories rose by 3.7 million barrels to 454.5 million barrels in the week ended February 15, the EIA said.
Winter weather arrives in Richmond
Snow fell along the East Coast, and schools in several parts of the US closed amid predictions for messy afternoon commutes. Over the weekend, freezing rain or snow may fall briefly Saturday morning before transitioning to rain showers.
Surging US crude oil production, which the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said reached 12 million bpd for the first time last week, is partly offsetting the OPEC cuts.
The Saudi Arabia-led organisation agreed near the end of previous year, alongside non-OPEC producers like Russian Federation to curtail oil production by 1.2 billion barrels a day in an effort to stop the commodities decline in price which had been in freefall throughout the latter half of 2018.
The U.S. will start consistently exporting more crude oil and petroleum products than it imports at the end of next year, EIA recently forecast.
Oil prices eased off 2019 highs on Thursday ahead of US government data that was expected to show a fifth weekly build in crude inventories, while concerns about slowing global economic growth weighed, Trend reports referring to Reuters.
Goldman Sachs said in a note it expects OPEC output to average 31.1 million bpd in 2019, down from 31.9 million bpd.
The bank said that some weeks could see 4.6 million bpd of gross crude exports by year-end, topping last week's record of 3.6 million bpd.
That means much will depend on demand, which Goldman said it expected to grow by 1.4 million bpd this year.