Nigeria has lost its Africa's top oil producer position to Angola for the second time in two years, as the country's crude oil production fell by 67,000 barrels per day last month, latest data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries ( OPEC) have shown.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet on May 25 to consider extending output cuts beyond June to reduce a glut that has depressed prices. Prices fell even after Saudi Arabian Oil Co.
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Benchmark Brent crude futures were down 56 cents at $55.33 at 0618 GMT (2:18 a.m. ET). Production fell 0.5% month-over-month and 0.2% YoY (year-over-year). Brent on the ICE Futures Europe exchange was down 35 cents at $55.01 a barrel.
Although the failure of a ballistic missile launch in North Korea brought some respite, markets were braced for further tensions in the region. Still, major disturbances in Chinese oil demand, Russian output, or other aspects of geopolitics can overpower the effects of the bloc's efforts.
"It seems that the optimism in the oil market we have seen since the last few days of March is running out of steam", wrote Tamas Varga, PVM Oil Associates analyst, noting concerns about the "ever-increasing rise" in USA shale output.
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"U.S. drillers are recovering output faster than the market predicted and it's getting faster every day", Will Yun, a commodities analyst Hyundai Futures Corp., said by phone in Seoul.
US oil rig activity increased for the 14th straight week last week, the highest since April 2015. Increasing U.S. output is proving a constant source of irritation to attempts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major oil producers to curb output and sustain a rally in prices in a market that has been oversupplied since mid-2014.U.S. crude oil production has climbed to 9.24 million barrels per day, according to the latest Energy Information Administration data, making it the world's third-largest producer after Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.
The increasing production largely counteracted figures showing first quarter economic growth of 6.9 percent in China.
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Russian Federation is the largest crude oil producer in the world.