Brent and WTI oil prices decline

 Brent and WTI oil prices decline

Oil prices fell by around 1% on Monday as drilling activity in the United States, the world’s largest oil producer, picked up and financial markets were pulled down by trade concerns.

Brent crude oil futures were down 49 cents (0.8%) at $61.61 a barrel. WTI crude futures were at $52.09 per barrel at 0347 GMT, down 63 cents (1.2%) from their last settlement.

In the U.S., energy firms last week increased the number of oil rigs operating for the second time in three weeks, a weekly report by Baker Hughes said. Companies added seven oil rigs in the week to Feb. 8, bringing the total count to 854, pointing to a further rise in U.S. crude production, which already stands at a record 11.9 million bpd.

WTI prices were also weighed down by the closure of a 120,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) crude distillation unit (CDU) at Phillips 66’s Wood River, Illinois, refinery following a fire on Sunday, Reuters reported.

A refinery fire in the U.S. state of Illinois, which resulted in the shutdown of a large crude distillation unit, that could cause crude demand to fall also weighed on prices, traders said.

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