Petroleum futures were moving in a narrow range Friday, closing out a month that has seen little commitment by traders.

Less than 80cts/bbl separated the lows and highs for Brent crude in morning trading and West Texas Intermediate crude has traded in a $1.10/bbl range.

Crude futures, however, were close to their morning highs near midday, with the May Brent contract up 42cts to $82.57/bbl and the NYMEX April WTI contract 52cts higher at $79.07/bbl.

Crude prices reflect the view that OPEC+ will extend its production cuts through the second quarter. But if that doesn't happen, the tradition of strong March performances for crude and RBOB may have to be reassessed.

OPEC+ member nations are expected to decide whether to extend the cuts in the first half of March.

Gasoline futures were attracting some buying, with the NYMEX March RBOB contract up by 1.98cts to $2.2908/gal and April 2.94cts higher at $2.5806/gal.

Price gains in some U.S. spot markets were more impressive. Gasoline prices were 3-8cts/gal higher in Los Angeles, San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest.

Phillips 66 is believed to have stopped processing crude at its Rodeo, Calif., refinery in favor of bio-feedstocks and that, combined with refinery maintenance in the region may lead to a tighter supply picture.

Cash gasoline prices in East of the Rockies' markets were also higher, but the increases were mostly in the 1-4cts/gal range. The Chicago market continued to tighten with CBOB and RBOB at $2.51-$2.55/gal.

Despite gasoline futures' sluggish start to the year, the average U.S. retail price on Thursday topped $3.318/gal, the highest number since Nov. 19, according to OPIS/AAA data.

Diesel futures were staging a modest rally, despite spring-like weather in many states that use the fuel for heating. The NYMEX March ULSD contract, which expires at the end of Thursday's session, was up by 3.45cts to $2.6928/gal. The April contract was 3.88cts higher at $2.6648/gal near midday.

This content was created by Oil Price Information Service, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. OPIS is run independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.

--Reporting by Tom Kloza,; Editing by Jeff Barber,

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-29-24 1237ET