By Ovunc Kutlu
ANKARA (AA) - Crude oil prices opened Monday with gains after OPEC signaled it would maintain oil production cuts to support prices in the second half of 2019.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $73.11 per barrel, posting a 1.24% gain, after closing Friday at $72.21 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $63.66 a barrel at the same time, marking a 1.43% increase, after ending Friday at $62.76 per barrel.
The Energy Minister of OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia, Khalid al-Falih, announced Sunday that the cartel and its allies have agreed to decrease crude oil inventories "gently" in the second half of this year, while keeping an eye on global oil supply.
Dubbed as OPEC+, the cartel and its allies including Russia agreed on Dec. 7, 2018 to lower their production level by a total of 1.2 million barrels per day for the first half of 2019.
Meanwhile, tensions in the Middle East continue to risk secure supply of oil from the region to the global market.
"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!" the U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Trump's statement escalated tensions in the region following attacks on Saudi Arabia's two oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on May 12 and the drone attack on two oil-pumping stations in Saudi Arabia on May 14.