Oil falls af­ter U.S. drilling picks up

Tehran Times - - ENERGY -

Oil fell on Mon­day af­ter U.S. shale drillers added more rigs last week, but prices still held close to their high­est since mid-2015, sup­ported by an ex­ten­sion to out­put cuts agreed last week by OPEC and other pro­duc­ers.

Drillers in the United States added two oil rigs in the week to Dec. 1, bring­ing the to­tal count to 749, the high­est since Septem­ber, en­ergy ser­vices com­pany Baker Hughes said in its closely fol­lowed re­port late on Fri­day.

Fe­bru­ary Brent crude fu­tures were down 54 cents at $63.19 a bar­rel by 1003 GMT, while U.S. West Texas In­ter­me­di­ate was down 61 cents at $57.75.

The Brent price hit a two-year high of $64.65 a month ago and has since at­tracted record in­vest­ment by fund man­agers.

The U.S. rig count, an early in­di­ca­tor of fu­ture out­put, has risen sharply from 477 ac­tive rigs a year ago af­ter en­ergy com­pa­nies boosted spend­ing plans for 2017.

Drillers were en­cour­aged dur­ing 2017 to in­crease ac­tiv­ity as crude prices started re­cov­er­ing from a multi-year price slump af­ter the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the Pe­tro­leum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries (OPEC) and some non-OPEC pro­duc­ers, in­clud­ing Rus­sia, agreed to pro­duc­tion cuts a year ago.

Last week the pro­duc­ers agreed to ex­tend those cuts of 1.8 mil­lion bar­rels per day (bpd) un­til the end of next year.

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