Oil prices rose on Monday but the gains were limited as investors gauged whether an increase in U.S. drilling rigs and record stockpiles would undermine efforts by producers to cut output and bring the market into balance.
Brent futures LCOc1 were up 23 cents at $56.04 a barrel at 0750 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was up 19 cents at $53.59. Both contracts earlier fell slightly in quiet trading.
“Sustained gains above $55 a barrel, and a hoped for rally to $60 a barrel, (are) both proving incredibly tough nuts to crack,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.
“At the crux of the matter is that 90 percent OPEC compliance is being balanced by ever increasing U.S. shale production,” he added.