MTECHTIPS- Crude prices held gains in Asia on Friday with all eyes on OPEC to conclude terms at the end of the month for announced plans to trim output and weekly U.S. rig count data loomed. Crude oil for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 0.29% to $45.07 a barrel. Last week, oil services firm Baker Hughes said the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. last week rose by 2 to 452, the 21st increase out of the last 24 weeks. Overnight, oil prices were higher during early New York trading on Thursday, reversing earlier losses after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said he was optimistic that OPEC would formalize a preliminary oil output deal reached in Algeria in September. He said talks were ongoing with Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed al-Sada, who had invited him to Qatar to continue discussions. His comments came after Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that Russia is ready to support OPEC’s decision on an oil output freeze and sees big chances that the oil producers’ group can agree on the terms of the freeze by November 30. He also said there was a possibility he could meet Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih at a gas conference in Doha this week.