April 22, 2019 / 12:31 AM / a month ago

Oil prices rise on decline in U.S. drilling activity, OPEC supply cuts

* Brent futures hit highest since Nov on OPEC-led supply cuts

* U.S. WTI crude driven up by dip in drilling activity

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE, April 22 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose early on Monday, with Brent hitting its highest level since November, driven up by a decline in U.S. drilling activity and ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC.

Brent crude futures were at a November 2018 high of $72.58 per barrel at 0028 GMT, up 0.8 percent from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $64.55 per barrel, up 0.9 percent from their previous settlement.

“The path of least resistance remains higher (for oil prices),” said Stephen Innes, head of trading at SPI Asset Management, pointing to Saudi supply cuts, a decline in the U.S. rig count and supply disruptions from Libya to Venezuela as reasons for a tight market.

U.S. energy firms last week reduced the number of oil rigs operating by two, to 825, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its weekly report on Thursday.

Outside the United States, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has led supply cuts since the start of the year aimed at tightening global oil markets and to propping up crude prices.

Brent prices have risen by more than a third this year, while WTI has climbed more than 40 percent over the same period.

Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford

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