© Reuters. Crude oil prices log fifth-straight weekly gain© Reuters. Crude oil prices log fifth-straight weekly gain

Investing.com – Oil prices settled a bit lower on Friday, with a recent rally finally showing signs of slowing after closely-watched data showed an uptick in U.S. drilling activity.

Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil last week, underlining worries that U.S. producers will ramp up output with prices holding near 28-month highs.

The weekly rig count is an important barometer for the drilling industry and serves as a proxy for domestic oil production.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) shed 43 cents, or around 0.8%, to end at $56.74 a barrel by close of trade. It reached its best level since July 2015 at $57.92 on Wednesday.

It ended around 2% higher for the week, up a fifth-straight week.

Meanwhile, futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., slipped 41 cents, or roughly 0.7%, to settle at $63.52 a barrel. It rallied to $64.65 midweek, a level not seen since June 2015.

The global benchmark ended the week with an increase of approximately 2.4%, the fifth weekly gain in a row.

Oil’s rally, which began in early October, has been largely driven by expectations that oil producing countries will agree to extend an output cut at their meeting at the end of this month.

Under the original terms of the deal, OPEC and 10 other non-OPEC countries led by Russia agreed to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) for six months. The agreement was extended in May of this year for a period of nine more months until March 2018 in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.

Discussions are continuing in the run-up to the Nov. 30 meeting, which oil ministers from OPEC and the participating non-OPEC countries will attend.

Prices received another boost amid ongoing unrest in the Middle East as well as escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Saudi Arabia is among the world’s top producers of oil and OPEC’s most influential member.

In other energy trading Friday, dipped 0.7 cents, or 0.4%, to end at $1.812 on Friday. It closed up around 1.1% for the week, the fifth-straight weekly advance.

slumped 1.2 cents, or 0.6%, at $1.934 a gallon, marking a 2.6% weekly gain and booking its fifth weekly climb in a row.

tacked on 1.3 cents, or almost 0.4%, to settle at $3.213 per million British thermal units. It traded around 7.7% higher for the week, notching its second straight weekly advance.

In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on and to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.

Oil traders will also focus on monthly reports from the and the to assess global oil supply and demand levels.

The data will give traders a better picture of whether a global rebalancing is taking place in the oil market.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday, November 13

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties will publish its monthly assessment of oil markets.

Tuesday, November 14

The International Energy Agency will release its monthly report on global oil supply and demand.

Later in the day, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.

Wednesday, November 15

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.

Thursday, November 16

The U.S. government is set to produce a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.

Friday, November 17

Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.