Crude prices gained in Asia on Friday with the market looking ahead to U.S. rig count figures.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude futures for August delivery rose 0.23% to $42.84 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent gained 0.18% to $45.30 a barrel.
The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. has increased for 22 straight weeks with the latest figures due on Friday from oilfield services firm Baker Hughes (BHI), with investors waiting to see if recent price drops in crude are causing a re-think on drilling plans.
Tropical storm Cindy made landfall on Thursday near Lake Charles, Louisiana, after it disrupted some operations in the Gulf of Mexico, home to about 17% of U.S. crude and 5% of dry natural gas output. The storm is now on the wane.
Overnight, crude futures settled higher on Thursday, paring some of the losses sustained in recent sessions; but sentiment remained bearish as investors continue to fret about rising global stockpiles.
Crude futures snapped a three-day losing streak, despite a growing number of analysts scaling back their forecast for crude prices over the near term amid fears that the glut in crude stockpiles would persist.
The move higher in crude futures comes a day after the Energy Information Administration said that crude stockpiles fell by roughly 2.45m barrels in the week ended June 16, above expectations of a draw of about 2.1m barrels.
Despite the draw in U.S. crude stockpiles, rising shale output remains a principal concern among investors – The U.S. Department of Energy recently estimated that supply will grow by 122,000 barrels a day.
Since the turn of the year oil prices have slumped more than 20%, reflecting negative investor sentiment on oil as doubts continued to mount as to whether OPEC and its allies can tackle the glut in supply.
In May, OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed to extend production cuts for a period of nine months until March, but stuck to production cuts of 1.8 million bpd agreed in November last year.