New York: Crude oil prices posted their biggest weekly losses Friday in more than two years, after rising crude production and the number of oil rigs in the U.S. has brought back fears that crude supply would increase in the global market.
The international benchmark Brent crude lost 8.7 percent between Feb. 2 – Feb. 9, while the American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell 9.8 percent during that period.
This was the biggest percentage decline in a single week for oil prices since January 2016 when low global demand and the glut of oil supply pushed oil prices down.
During the week of Jan. 8 – Jan. 15, 2016, both the Brent crude and WTI dived below $30 a barrel — their lowest point in 13 years.
On Friday, both benchmarks posted a 3.4 percent daily loss, after the oil rig count in the U.S., which signals the short-term production change, showed a strong increase.
The oil rig count in the country rose by 26 this week, the strongest weekly gain in a year, oilfield service provider Baker Hughes data showed earlier.
With that result, the total number of oil rigs in the U.S. reached 791, the highest level since April 2015.
Production of crude oil in the U.S. also climbed to a record high level last week by reaching 10.25 million barrels per day (mbpd), according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released on Wednesday, and surpassed the crude output of Saudi Arabia.
The EIA said Tuesday it projects the U.S.’ crude oil production to average 10.6 mbpd in 2018, and 11.2 mbpd in 2019, to surpass the world’s biggest crude producer Russia.