Oil prices have dipped today, weighed down by rising US output although a 13% fall in US crude inventories since March has indicated a gradually tightening market.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $52.64 per barrel at 7.39am Irish time, down 8 cents, or 0.2%, from their last close.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $48.47 a barrel, down 4 cents, or 0.1%.

The moves follow a sharp 3% jump in prices on Friday.

Traders said the market has been dampened by rising US production, which has broken through 9.5m barrels per day (bpd), its highest since July 2015.

"US oil production is forecast to grow by almost 1m barrels per day in 2018 and by 850,000 barrels per day from May through year-end," Barclays bank said.

But there are indicators that US output may soon slow, as energy firms cut rigs drilling for new oil for a second week in three, the Baker Hughes energy services firm reported on Friday.

Drillers cut five oil rigs in the week to 18 August, bringing the total count down to 763, Baker Hughes said.

"The rig count suffered its biggest fall since January, adding to signs that the market is tightening," ANZ bank said.

Also, US commercial crude inventories have fallen by almost 13% from their March peaks, to 466.5m barrels.

Analysts said that falling crude inventories, despite rising output, indicate the market is already tightening.

"The rebalance of the oil market is well under way according to inventory data, however the market is heavily focused on the fact that shale supply continues to increase," said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia's Rivkin Securities.

"The trajectory of crude inventories is clearly down and it will be surprising if the market will be able to ignore continued drawdowns," he added.

Outside the United States, an outage of the Sharara oilfield in Libya might dampen flows in the short-term, traders said.

Although there was strong support to prevent prices falling, analysts said there was little to drive oil higher.