Crude oil futures extended the previous sessions losses on Friday as expectations for an increase in oil supply from Libya and concerns over a build-up in U.S. supplies drove prices lower.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in February settled at USD94.23 a barrel, down 1.27%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of USD93.38 a barrel. For the week, crude futures dropped 6%.
On Thursday, crude futures tumbled 3% to settle at USD95.44 a barrel on the Nymex. It was the sharpest one-day decline since early November 2012.
Libya’s National Oil Corporation said Thursday that exports could soon return to near normal levels after political protesters agreed to stop months of blockages. Libyan oil production has fallen sharply since July with protesters disrupting output at many of the country’s oilfields.
Expectations for increased exports from South Sudan also weighed.
In the U.S., the Energy Information Administration said Thursday that crude oil inventories fell by 7.01 million barrels in the previous week, far surpassing market expectations for a decline of 2.98 million barrels.
Total motor gasoline inventories fell by 844,000 barrels compared to expectations for a gain of 1.93 million barrels.
However, the EIA said stocks on the Gulf coast remained well above levels of the past few years as rising output contributed to a build-up of domestic supplies.
Meanwhile, distillate fuel, which includes diesel and heating oil, rose by 5.04 million barrels, outstripping expectations for a gain of 1.23 million and overshadowing the sharp decline in oil inventories.
On the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for delivery in February fell 0.77% to USD106.95 a barrel, extending the week’s losses to 4.7%.
Elsewhere on the Nymex, natural gas for February delivery edged up 0.09% to USD4.32 per million British thermal units.
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders