UPDATE 8-Oil rises about 1%, posts third week of gains on vaccine hopes


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    * Brent, WTI both up over 5% in the week
    * Market eyes OPEC+ meeting at month-end
    * Discussions on more U.S. COVID-19 relief support prices
    * U.S. oil/gas rig count falls for first week in 10 -Baker

 (Adds CFTC data)
    By Stephanie Kelly
    NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose about 1% higher
on Friday and posted a third consecutive weekly rise, buoyed by
successful COVID-19 vaccine trials, while renewed lockdowns in
several countries to limit the spread of the coronavirus capped
    Brent crude  LCOc1  futures rose 76 cents, or 1.7%, to
settle at $44.96 a barrel.
    The more active U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) January
crude contract  CLc2  gained 52 cents, or 1.2% to $42.42 a
barrel. The WTI contract for December  CLc1 , which expired on
Friday, rose 41 cents, or 1%, to settle at $42.15 a barrel.
    Both benchmarks gained about 5% this week.
    Prospects for effective COVID-19 vaccines have bolstered oil
markets this week. Pfizer Inc said it will apply to U.S. health
regulators on Friday for emergency use authoritization of its
vaccine, the first such application in a major step toward
providing protection against the new coronavirus.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2I62KF 
    "Despite the fact that in reality it will take time for a
global vaccine campaign to be implemented, time during which oil
demand will suffer, positive news are breaking daily about the
vaccine deliveries," said Bjornar Tonhaugen, Rystad Energy's
head of oil markets. 
    Also boosting sentiment was hope that the Organization of
the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other
producers will keep crude output in check. The group, known as
OPEC+, were expected to delay a planned production increase.
    OPEC+, which meets on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, is looking at
options to delay by at least three months from January the
tapering of their 7.7 million barrel per day (bpd) cuts by
around 2 million bpd.   
    "An assumed roll-over of current cuts by OPEC+ to Q1 2021 is
probably in today's price of $44 per barrel," Nordic bank SEB
    Still, smaller Russian oil companies are planning to pump
more crude this year despite the output deal as they have little
leeway in managing the production of start-up fields, a group
representing the producers said.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2I61QL
    Oil prices were getting some support from signs of movement
on a stimulus deal in Washington after U.S. Senate Republican
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to resume discussions on
providing more COVID-19 relief as cases surge across the United
States.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2I52CI
    Oversupply concerns, however, continue to weigh as Libya has
raised production to pre-blockade levels of 1.25 million bpd.
    U.S. energy firms this week cut the number of oil and
natural gas rigs operating for the first time in 10 weeks,
according to energy services firm Baker Hughes Co  BKR.N . The
oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, fell
by two to 310 this week, with oil rigs alone dropping by five to
231, after hitting their highest since May last week.
    Money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and
options positions in the week to Nov. 17 by 3,100 contracts to
277,080, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
said on Friday.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nAQN03EPHP

 (Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York; additional reporting
by Ahmad Ghaddar in London, Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo and Koustav
Samanta in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Kirsten
 ((Stephanie.Kelly@thomsonreuters.com; 646-223-4471; Reuters
Messaging: stephanie.kelly.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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