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Oil stable as talk of OPEC output cuts supports, but soaring U.S. production drags

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices were stable on Friday, pressured as the United States became the world’s top crude producer after its output hit all-time highs, but supported as China remained on track to register another year of record imports.

Front-month Brent crude oil futures were at $72 a barrel at 0554 GMT, down 7 cents from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.72 per barrel, up 5 cents from their previous settlement.

Weighing on prices was record U.S. crude production, which hit 11.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in the week ending Nov. 2, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released on Wednesday.

That’s a threefold increase from the U.S. low reached a decade ago, and a 22.2 percent rise just this year. It makes the United States the world’s biggest producer of crude.

More U.S. oil will likely come. The EIA expects output to break through 12 million bpd by mid-2019, largely thanks to a surge in shale oil production.

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