Oil Prices Fall On Concerns Of Rising US Production

11 January, 2017, 00:33 | Author: Celia Hoffman

Oil prices dropped on Monday as Iranian exports undermined the efforts of OPEC oil producers to decrease production and to limit the global supply.

Brent crude futures were down $1.08, or 1.9%, at $56.02 a barrel (bbl) at 6:27 a.m. CT (12:27 GMT), after touching a intra-day low of $55.85. West Texas Intermediate, the USA benchmark for the price of oil, in the February contract was up 0.25 percent to $52.09 per barrel. Oil prices may also have been affected by the stronger dollar.

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.

Brent crude has surged in the last month, climbing by 20% following two separate production cut agreements by OPEC and non-OPEC members, with some 2% of global supply to be removed at the start of next year.

Iran is now pumping 3.7 million barrels of crude oil per day and seeks to regain its market share of pre-sanctions levels of 4 million barrels per day.

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Iraq's production climbed in 2016 and it was initially reluctant to join the cuts, asking first for an exemption to help it fight Islamic State militants and then disputing OPEC's baseline production data.

Data out of the United States in December revealed that oil drillers were returning idled rigs back online at the fastest rate since March 2014, with 65 oil rigs added by the end of the month, bringing the total USA oil rig count up to 525 - the highest since last January.

Oil edged up on Tuesday on hopes that some planned output cuts agreed by OPEC and other producers would be implemented, recovering some ground from losses the previous day over doubts the reductions would rebalance an oversupplied market.

Crude oil prices lost major ground in Monday trading following a report on December exploration and production activity from oilfield services company Baker Hughes. The OPEC deal is slated to take oil off the market, while USA drilling is expected to add new supply.

Some other countries, including Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and biggest OPEC producer, have also reduced their output. 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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