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From the Field

Oil steadies after dip

LONDON, December 15, 2017 – Crude oil prices steadied on Friday, as traders grew more cautious ahead of the weekend, while concerns over rising U.S. shale production continued to linger.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude January contract was up 16 cents or about 0.26% at $57.19 a barrel by 09:50 a.m. ET (13:50 GMT).

Elsewhere, Brent oil for February delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London was little changed at $63.32 a barrel.

Ongoing supply disruptions from the Forties pipeline in the North Sea continued to lend support to the commodity on Friday.

The commodity also remained buoyed after OPEC revealed in its monthly report that production in November, fell by 133,000 bpd to 32.5 million bpd but revised upward its 2018 forecast for non-OPEC output.

 

Prices briefly weakened following news this week of a larger-than-expected surge in U.S. gasoline stockpiles outweighed a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. crude inventories.

Also weighing on crude prices was a rise in production to record highs as data showed weekly U.S. crude production jumped by 73,000 barrels a day to 9.78 million barrels per day (bpd), bringing output close to levels of top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Fears that rising U.S. output would dampen OPEC’s efforts to rid the market of excess supplies have been recently weighing on sentiment, according to market participants.

The producer group, along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, agreed last week to extend current oil output cuts for a further nine months until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures were little changed at $1.678 a gallon, while natural gas futures were steady at $2.684 per million British thermal units.

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