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Oil Futures Continue Losses as US Production Climbs
11 January 2017, 12:37 | Felicia Christensen
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US crude futures were trading at $52.66 barrel, down $1.33 at 10:51 a.m. ET (1551 GMT).
Light, sweet crude for February delivery recently dropped 45 cents, or 0.9% to $51.50 a barrel on the NYME.
Crude oil prices were lower Tuesday, continuing their losses from the prior session on concerns that higher U.S. oil production will negate the OPEC/non-OPEC oil producer's output cut. Oil output, according to EIA weekly surveys, is up roughly 300,000 bpd from summer lows, with more supply expected to come online in the months ahead as drilling picks up pace.
Libya, which was exempted from Opec's agreement to cut its members' production inked on 30 November 2016, has seen its production jump to 708,000 barrels per day (bpd); the highest on official records since 2014, the country's National Oil Company said.
Oil fell for the first time in four days as rising USA drilling activity fanned speculation that OPEC production cuts could boost North American output. The morning movement for crude oil prices may be subdued as investors await the next short-term market report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which comes out later Tuesday. Chinese firms are expected to lift between 3 million to 4 million barrels more Iranian oil each quarter in 2017 than previous year, trading sources say.
Another area of concern is increasing number of oil rigs in the U.S for a tenth week in a row, the number jumped up to 529, the highest figure since December 2015, according to Baker Hughes.
Russian Federation agreed to cut 300,000 barrels a day as part of the November 30 deal reached in Vienna setting the global oil production ceiling at 32.5 million barrels per day.
In 2012, Iran's energy sector was hit by the US-led sanctions, reducing the country's crude exports from 2.5 million bpd to almost 1 million barrels per day.
"There will be some countries that will cheat, Iraq being the most likely culprit", said Amrita Sen, the chief oil market analyst at Energy Aspects.
Iraq opposed cutting its own production during initial negotiations among OPEC members, arguing that it needed the funds from oil in order to pay for its war against the Islamic State.
There are signs Iranians are taking advantage of higher prices to sell more. With the dollar strong and US stock markets trading near all-time highs, traders are anticipating a break of the support levels to take markets higher or a reversal which could send markets broadly lower. And any failure for the entirety of promised cuts to stick, or rising production elsewhere, will mean oil prices lower than those at present for the foreseeable future.
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