OIL PRICE: NOT ABOVE $66
REUTERS - Oil markets edged up on Monday on the back of a drop in the number of U.S. rigs drilling for more production and as the U.S. economy continued to create jobs, which industry hopes will drive higher fuel demand.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $62.10 a barrel at 0407 GMT, up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $65.58 per barrel, up 9 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their previous close.
"A falling rig count and the strong employment data may have helped support prices," said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Rivkin Securities.
The U.S. economy added the biggest number of jobs in more than 1-1/2 years in February, with non-farm payrolls jumping by 313,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday.
In oil markets, U.S. energy companies last week cut oil rigs for the first time in almost two months RIG-OL-USA-BHI, with drillers cutting back four rigs, to 796, Baker Hughes (GE.N) energy services firm said on Friday.
Despite the lower rig count, which is an early indicator of future output, activity remains much higher than a year ago when, when just 617 rigs were active, and most analysts expect U.S. crude oil production C-OUT-T-EIA, which has already risen by over a fifth since mid-2016, to 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd), to rise further.
That's more than top exporter Saudi Arabia producers and almost as much as Russia pumps out, at nearly 11 million bpd.
Singapore-based brokerage Phillip Futures said that the oil market "will focus on OPEC and IEA (monthly) reports this week for a sensing on global demand/supply levels for crude oil" and that "items in focus will include OECD commercial stock levels, revision in global demand and supply for crude oil and OPEC's compliance on production levels".
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), together with a group of other producers led by Russia, has been withholding production since the start of 2017 to prop up prices.
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REUTERS - Brent LCOc1 futures fell 43 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $79.14 a barrel by 0218 GMT, after climbing 35 cents on Tuesday. Last week, the global benchmark hit $80.50 a barrel, the highest since November 2014. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures eased 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $71.95 a barrel, having climbed on Tuesday to $72.83 a barrel, the highest since November 2014.
FT - Most oil majors can now cover dividends and capital expenditure at prices around $50 per barrel, meaning that, at $80, they make a healthy surplus.
EIA - The United States remained the world's top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2017, reaching a record high. The United States has been the world's top producer of natural gas since 2009, when U.S. natural gas production surpassed that of Russia, and the world's top producer of petroleum hydrocarbons since 2013, when U.S. production exceeded Saudi Arabia’s. Since 2008, U.S. petroleum and natural gas production has increased by nearly 60%.
PLATTS - China became the largest contributor to global LNG consumption growth in 2017. It surpassed South Korea as the world's second largest LNG importer and its share of global LNG demand is expected to converge with that of Japan by 2030.