Crude oil futures pared early gains and settled lower on Friday amid uncertainty about the outlook for energy demand due to fresh restrictions on movements following the spread of the new coronavirus variant Omicron in several countries.
Oil prices climbed higher earlier in the day, riding on the decision of OPEC+ to stick to their existig policy of monthly oil output increases but left room for quick adjustments if the Omicron variant hits demand.
The OPEC+ decided to stick to their plan to increase output by 400,000 barrels per day in January, in a sign of the group's belief in firm market fundamentals.
A statement from OPEC+ noted the meeting would "remain in session" so producers could "make immediate adjustments if required."
The alliance said in a communique following a meeting on Thursday that it stood ready to reconvene "pending further developments of the pandemic, and to continue to monitor the market closely and make immediate adjustments if required."
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January ended down by $0.24 or about 0.4% at $66.26 a barrel.
WTI crude futures shed about 2.8% in the week.
Brent crude futures were down marginally at $69.63 a barrel a little while ago.
A report from Baker Hughes said the total count of active drilling rigs in the U.S. held steady at 569, the same as last week. Rigs targeting crude oil and natural gas remained unchanged at 467 and 102, respectively.