Oil prices recovered a little on Friday after dropping to their lowest in more than three months, pressured by heavy oversupply despite OPEC-led production cuts.
Oil last week broke below the $50/bbl level it had held above since the OPEC and 11 other nations started trimming supply on January 1.
Oil steadied below $49 a barrel as US drillers continued to boost activity, countering OPEC's efforts to drain a global glut.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for April dipped 0.87% to 0.$48.07 a barrel, while on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for May delivery was last quoted at $51.30 a barrel.
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Industry sources told Reuters that Saudi Arabian officials held a closed-door meeting with U.S. oil companies, reportedly warning that the output cut would not necessarily be extended beyond the initial duration of six months to nulify rising United States production.
It said that crude production from seven major USA shale areas is forecast to climb by 109,000 barrels a day to 4.962 million barrels a day in April from March. The slide in oil prices, which had traded between $50.50 and $55.24 since December 16, helped drag the S&P 500 to its first weekly decline since January.
In 1998-1999, OPEC reached out (with mixed success) to Mexico, Russia, Norway and Oman to secure their agreement for coordinated output cuts to drain excess global oil stocks and lift prices. Prices slid 8.1 per cent last week.
That was the day OPEC announced lower production targets for the first half of 2017, sending crude prices hurtling higher. Production in North Dakota's Bakken Shale is seen declining by 10,000 barrels per day.
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The crude price has fallen by more than 9% since last Monday, its biggest week-on-week drop in four months.
OPEC members and other prominent oil exporters had chose to reduce their output by 1.8 million barrels a day for the first six months this year. The rout accelerated Friday after Baker Hughes Inc. data showed American shale explorers keep adding rigs.
USA crude stockpiles rose to 528.4 million barrels in the week ended March 3, the highest in weekly data going back to 1982, according to an Energy Information Administration report on March 8. "For the market to establish the fact that it has finally hit bottom, we really have to get the price of oil back above $US50 a barrel, which is still a tall order at this point".
AM Rain/PM Sun for Friday, Cool Down Coming for the Southeast
On Sunday , the weather service will be to provide further information on what snow totals we can expect for the rest of Tuesday . Friday afternoon will be mostly cloudy with highs in the mid-60s north of I20 and mid-70s south of I20.