Bloomberg Business: Oil Trades Near $50 as Iraq Pumps Crude at Record Pace Amid Glut
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(For more on oil’s decline, click EXT5 <GO>)
(Bloomberg) — Oil traded near $50 a barrel as Iraq pumped crude at a record pace with OPEC’s second-biggest producer planning to boost to exports this year.
Futures swung between gains and losses in New York and London. Average Iraqi output is at 4 million barrels a day, Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said at a news conference after meeting his Turkish counterpart, Taner Yildiz, in Baghdad. U.S. producers idled a record number of drill rigs during the past six weeks, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc.
Crude slumped almost 50 percent last year as the U.S. pumped oil at the fastest rate in more than three decades while the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries resisted calls to cut supply. Producers outside of OPEC will boost output this year at a slower rate than previously forecast, according to a monthly report from the International Energy Agency.
West Texas Intermediate for February delivery, which expires on Jan. 20, was 3 cents higher at $48.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:25 a.m. Sydney time. The contract gained $2.44 to $48.69 on Jan. 16. The volume of all futures traded was about 57 percent below the 100-day average. Prices gained 0.7 percent last week.
Brent for March settlement was down 8 cents at $50.09 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It gained 3.9 percent to $50.17 on Jan. 16. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $1 to WTI for the same month.
The U.S. oil rig count has declined by 209 since Dec. 5, the steepest six-week drop since Baker Hughes Inc. began tracking the data in July 1987.
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|headline:||Tatweer Petroleum Oil field|
|caption:||An oil pump operates near a valve assembly in the Awali oil field in Bahrain on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. Oilextended its biggest drop in seven weeks on signs that snowstorms in the U.S. curbed gasoline consumption in the world’s biggest crude consumer. Photographer: Phil Weymouth/Bloomberg|