March 5, 2018 / 12:42 AM / in 18 days

Oil prices climb ahead of OPEC meeting with U.S. shale firms

SEOUL, March 5 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose early on Monday ahead of a meeting between OPEC and U.S. shale firms in Houston, raising expectations that oil producers would discuss further how to clear a global oil glut.

Oil ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other global oil players are set to gather in Houston as CERAWeek, the largest energy industry conference, begins on Monday.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo and other OPEC officials are expected to hold a dinner on Monday with U.S. shale firms on the sidelines of te conference.

International benchmark Brent crude was up 36 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $64.73 a barrel by 0027 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 35 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $61.60 per barrel.

Rising U.S. shale oil production has been a drag on the OPEC’s commitment to erode a prolonged global oil glut and prop up prices.

U.S. energy companies added 1 oil rig in the week to March 2, bringing the total count to 800, the highest level since April 2015, according to a weekly report from General Electric’s Baker Hughes unit.

Speculators raised their bullish bets on U.S. crude futures and options in the week to Feb. 27 for the second consecutive week, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

Money managers also upped their bullish bets on Brent crude, InterContinental Exchange (ICE) data showed. (Reporting By Jane Chung; editing by Richard Pullin)

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