Oil fell on Friday and was set for its largest weekly decline in a month after the Saudi energy minister cooled expectations that top producers might agree next month to curb crude output levels.
Brent crude oil futures were down 52 cents at $49.15 per barrel by 0917 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 28 cents at $47.05 a barrel.
Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told Reuters late on Thursday: “We don’t believe any significant intervention in the market is necessary other than to allow the forces of supply and demand to do the work for us.”
He said the “market is moving in the right direction” already.
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum, which groups producers and consumers, in Algeria Sept. 26-28.
The Saudi minister’s comments dampened expectations of a meaningful intervention into the market, which has been dogged by oversupply for more than two years.
The price of crude oil has fallen by more than 3 percent so far this week, putting it on course for its largest one-week slide in a month.
“This week has clearly been a tug of war between fundamentals and this continued ‘verbal intervention’ that we’ve seen from various OPEC members,” Saxo Bank Senior Manager Ole Hansen said.
“All in all, it’s left the market relatively close to the $50 mark, which in my opinion, is probably as much as OPEC can ask for at this point.”