West TX Oil Near $51.50

U.S. crude closed higher on Friday after Baker Hughes reported drillers increased the pace of rig reductions in U.S. oilfields after two weeks of thin declines. The number of rigs exploring for oil in U.S. acreage fell by 42, the steepest drop in a month, bringing the total number to 760 rigs.

U.S. crude settled up 85 cents, or 1.7 percent, at $51.64 a barrel. Brent crude rose about $1.25 to $59 a barrel, on track for its third weekly gain in four.  Oil was supported by an easing of concerns that the interim accord over Iran’s nuclear work will lead to a rapid rise in Iranian oil supplies.

Evidence this week of ample global supplies, including the biggest jump in U.S. inventories since 2001, a glut of unsold Nigerian crude and Saudi Arabian output reaching a record high, limited the rally.