Oil prices settled under $37 a barrel on Thursday for the first time since 2009, after data from the Organization of the Petroleum Countries’ report showed that the group increased its crude production in November to its highest monthly level in three years.
Natural-gas futures, meanwhile, ended with a loss after a U.S. government report showed that supplies fell more than expected last week, but total stocks remained well above the year-ago level.On the New York Mercantile Exchange, January West Texas Intermediate crude shed 40 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $36.76 a barrel. That was the lowest settlement for a most-active contract since February 2009 and prices have now extended their losing streak to a fifth straight session.
January Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange slipped 38 cents, or 1%, to $39.73 a barrel.
OPEC’s monthly report revealed total production rose in November by 230,100 barrels a day from October, to 31.695 million barrels a day, largely due to higher output from Iraq.
But the cartel cut its 2016 estimates for non-OPEC output by 250,000 barrels a day to average 57.14 million barrels a day, noting that U.S. shale-oil production has been falling since April. OPEC said that process should speed up, notably due to the sharp fall in oil prices.
The OPEC report was the first since the cartel last week decided to essentially raise its production ceiling to 31.5 million barrels of oil a day, to reflect the “current actual production,” a move that sent oil prices tumbling.