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Oil prices, refining

Oil down on rising US rig count, Venezuela in focus

LONDON, January 28, 2019 – Oil prices fell on Monday in Asia after U.S. energy firms added more rigs last week. Meanwhile, Venezuela remained in the headlines as turmoil in Caracas triggered concerns that its crude exports could be disrupted.

Crude Oil WTI Futures were down 0.7% at $53.34 by 11:09 PM ET (04:09 GMT). The U.S. benchmark shed 0.2% last week as a hefty weekly rise in domestic crude supplies weighed.

The global benchmark, Brent Oil Futures for April delivery on the ICE (NYSE:ICE) Futures Europe exchange, fell 0.5% at $61.30. Brent lost about 1.7% last week, the first weekly decline in four weeks.

The fall in oil prices came after Baker Hughes, an energy services firm, said in its weekly report on Friday that U.S. energy firms last week raised the number of rigs looking for new oil to 862, an additional 10 rigs.

 

Meanwhile, oil traders also await more trade-related headlines, as Chinese officials begin another round of trade talks with their U.S. counterparts this week aimed at resolving the long-running trade war between the two countries.

Elsewhere, in Venezuela, opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president last week amid violent street protests, winning backing from Washington and large parts of Latin America, including Brazil and Colombia.

That prompted Nicolas Maduro, the country’s leader since 2013, to cut ties with the U.S., which signalled it could impose sanctions on Venezuela’s oil exports.

Despite last week’s loss, oil has gained roughly 17% since the start of January. Overall, the recent advance for the energy complex has been powered by evidence of a decline in global output.

Last year, Saudi Arabia-led OPEC and its non-member allies led by Russia agreed to collectively cut production by a total of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first six months of 2019 in an effort to stave off a global glut in supplies.

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