Updated from 2:57 p.m. EST

Oil prices closed higher for the first time this week, but to hear industry watchers tell it, reports of possible new OPEC production cuts weren't much of a factor in the rally.

Near-dated contracts for light, sweet crude ended the session up $1.11 at $52.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The iPath Goldman Sachs Crude Oil ( OIL) exchange-traded fund was up 0.8%.

Natural gas futures also rose, up 31 cents at $6.60 per million British thermal units. Heating oil gained 2 cents at $1.50 a gallon, while gasoline added 4 cents at $1.43 a gallon.

Dampening any chance of a major rally was evidence that OPEC's proposed reductions in crude output haven't materialized.

"The 1.2 million barrels per day targeted by OPEC for the November round of cuts will not be reached," states a new report from the Oil Movements newsletter.

A subsequent announcement said 500,000 barrels a day of additional production would be shut down starting in February.

However, because traders know that OPEC nations don't always follow through on planned cuts, they took little notice when reports emerged that the oil-exporting group might hold an emergency meeting to discuss further reductions.

"As of right now, we still have sellers on any rally," says Frank Lesh, an analyst at Chicago-based Future Path Trading. "There was news of tanker loadings being up quite a bit. That's just the opposite of what OPEC is telling us."

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