Oil steady near multi-month lows on OPEC output record, U.S. rig count


By Osamu Tsukimori | TOKYO

Oil prices were little changed on Monday near multi-month lows, dragged down by worries about oversupply as OPEC saw record output last month and as the U.S. rig count rose again.

London Brent crude for January delivery LCOc1 was trading up 4 cents at $44.79 a barrel by 0630 GMT, after settling down $1.09 on Friday. The benchmark on Friday hit its lowest since Aug. 11 at $44.19.

NYMEX crude for December delivery CLc1 was down 4 cents at $43.37 a barrel. The contract closed down $1.25 on Friday after dropping as low as $43.03, its weakest since Sept. 20.

The dollar rose to a nine-month high against other currencies on Monday, pressuring oil prices. [USD/]

“Overall the market is seen heading lower because of a strong dollar,” said Kaname Gokon at brokerage Okato Shoji in Tokyo.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said on Friday that its output rose to a record 33.64 million barrels per day (bpd) in October, up 240,000 bpd from the previous month.

OPEC plans to cut or freeze output, but investors are skeptical such a deal will be reached during the cartel’s Nov. 30 meeting and are concerned that whatever agreement reached would not be effective.

However, OPEC’s plans, coupled with Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, have spurred production activity in the U.S. shale patch, as cautiously confident shale producers redeploy cash, rigs and workers.

BMI Research said in a note that the most likely scenario at the OPEC meeting will be no deal, as the victory of Republican Trump – a strong advocate of U.S. energy independence – has altered its expectations.

Still, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih has said it was imperative for OPEC members to reach a consensus on activating a deal made in September in Algiers to cut oil production, according to Algeria’s state news agency on Sunday.

Iran opened three oilfields with a total production of more than 220,000 bpd on Sunday, as the country continues to ramp up its production.

Weekly Baker Hughes data showed that active U.S. drilling rigs rose by two, an increase in 21 out of the last 24 weeks.

China’s daily crude oil production in October fell to the lowest in more than seven years, while crude oil refinery throughput in October rose to the highest since at least 2011, data from the statistics bureau showed.

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Tom Hogue and Amrutha Gayathri)


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