Oil Prices Crawl Higher Over The Week

Oil futures closed lower on Friday in the wake of the weak February US employment report and trade data from China.

The Chinese data though showed solid demand for oil over January and February.

Oil prices though partially reversed the earlier losses to produce a small weekly gain.

In New York, April West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled 59 cents, or 1%, at $US56.07 a barrel after dropping earlier to as low as $US54.52. Prices rose 0.5% for the week.

Global benchmark May Brent crude futures lost 56 cents, or 0.8%, to $US65.74 a barrel in Europe. That left it up 1% for the week,

Traders ignored another fall in US oil drilling rig use last week it was the third consecutive weekly fall in US oil-drilling rig numbers.

According to oil services group, Baker Hughes, the number of US oil rigs fell 9 to 834.

The total active US rig count also edged down by 11 to 1,027, according to Baker Hughes.

Thats a fall of nearly 5% from the 1,078 oil and gas rigs in use last December in the US.

Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Friday that US oil production rose at the fastest pace on record in 2018.

The EIAs report showed American crude oil output averaged 10.95 million barrels a day (b/d) during 2018, topping output from Saudi Arabia and Russia as well as a previous 1970 US peak.

The figures was well above an EIA forecast at the start of last year that 2018 production would average around 10.3 million barrels a day.

The surge was driven by higher production from the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, where output to increased by more than 1 million b/d between December 2017 and December 2018.

US output last week was around 12.1 million barrels a day. Thats up from 11.89 million barrels last December.

The EIA forecast last month that US crude oil production will average 12.4 million b/d in this year and 13.2 million b/d in 2020, with most of the growth coming from the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico.

This article provided by NewsEdge.