U.S. Producers Ramp Up Shale Production, Oil Plunges to Three-month Lows

U.S. crude prices fluctuated on Friday, struggling to find direction after having fallen below $50 per barrel on the day before as concerns over a global glut overshadowed bullish sentiment from output cuts by major exporters.

West Texas Immediate was flat in early European trade, on track for 7 percent decline this week – the biggest weekly drop since early November. The prices have been under pressure from rising production in the U.S. where producers are drilling more wells and pumping more oil on the back of rising oil prices.

Besides the fact that U.S. crude inventories rose by 8.2 million barrels last week to a record 528.4 million barrels, U.S. producers are putting pressure on prices by planning to expand crude production in North Dakota, Oklahoma and other shale regions.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast U.S. oil output to increase to an average of 9.7 million barrels per day in 2018.

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