WTI, Brent Crude Fall on Friday, Post Third Straight Weekly Gain

Crude oil futures settled lower on Friday but held firm with a third consecutive weekly gain after rising to their highest settlements in three years on Thursday, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, February West Texas Intermediate crude fell 57 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $61.41 a barrel. For the week, prices saw a weekly gain of 1.7% after reaching a near three-year high settlement of $62.01 on Thursday.

March Brent crude, the global benchmark, settled lower by 45 cents, or 0.7%, to end trading at $67.62 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was up about 1.1% for the week after finishing above $68 a barrel on Thursday, its highest finish since December of 2014.

“Oil has had such a strong run lately, it was bound to have a small pullback,” said Brian Youngberg, senior energy analyst at Edward Jones. “In the nearer term, it is hard to see much more of a pullback with global demand remaining strong, drilling in shale not ramping up too quickly and [Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’] cuts holding up.”

The Energy Information Administration report “offered a bit of a mixed picture with a stronger than expected draw for U. S crude stocks being countered by unusually strong builds for distillates,” said Robbie Fraser, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric. “Those builds come as refineries continue to run at record levels for this time of year, with demand also on a seasonal decline, sending more refined products into U.S. storage tanks.”

In other news, February natural gas fell 3% to settle at $2.795 per million British thermal units back on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, it saw a weekly decline of around 5.4%.

EIA data released Thursday revealed that domestic national gas supplies fell 206 billion cubic feet last week, well above the five-year average withdrawal but below the 219 billion decline expected by analysts polled by S&P Global Platts.