Crude oil futures ended higher on Monday, although gains were just marginal as traders refrained from making big moves ahead of upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays.

The possibility of OPEC and allies considering easing output cuts next year weighed on oil prices.

An increase in U.S. drilling activity and a deal between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to renew crude output along their border pressured prices amid thin trading conditions.

According to reports, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are likely to sign an agreement to resume oil output in the neutral zone on Tuesday.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures for February ended up $0.08 at $60.52 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were higher by about 0.4% at $66.42 around late afternoon.

On Friday, WTI crude oil futures ended down $0.74, or 1.2%, at $60.44 a barrel, after data from Baker Hughes showed a sharp increase in rig count in the U.S. last week.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak reportedly said today that the OPEC led group may consider easing the output restrictions at its meeting in March.

“We can consider any options, including gradual easing of quotas, including continuation of the deal,” Novak told Russia’s RBC TV in an interview last week. He added that Russia’s oil output may hit a record high this year.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company –