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Oil production in the United States fell to 9.129 mbpd from 9.180 mbpd in February, which equals a 0.6 percent decline, according to the data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Compared to the previous year, the production is down by 3.4 percent. The latest data available from EIA also shows U.S. production at 8.938 mbpd last week.
The numbers also show the break down by state and region, showing Texas production down by 4 percent, North Dakota down by 4.6 percent, with Arizona registering the largest decline, namely 61.8 percent. But on the flip side, production was up by 6.4 percent in the Gulf of Mexico, 4 percent in Alaska and 24.3 percent in Ohio.
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Despite this, WTI posted a gain of about 20 per cent for April, making it the biggest monthly gain in a year. On Friday, prices went down after an early rise to 2016 peaks.
The losses came after oilfield services firm Baker Hughes reported its weekly U.S. oil rig count fell by 11 to 332. This time last year, drillers were operating 679 oil rigs.
Crude futures were boosted about $20 a barrel amid optimism that the global oil glut will ease and a weaker dollar, after they had gone down to 12 year lows below $30 in the first quarter. Some analysts say the market is expected to go into undersupply in the second half of the year, with prices less than $5 away from $50 a barrel.
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But oil stockpiles are still high, and many warn the rally was driven by investors holding large speculative positions. "The issue is that we haven't seen price rallies ... correlate with fundamentals," said Hamza Khan, senior commodity strategist at ING. "The fundamentals - high stocks, high production - haven't changed."
Analysts polled by Reuters raised their average forecast for Brent in 2016 to $42.30 per barrel, the second consecutive month of increases. Last week, Brent crude futures were flat at $48.14 a barrel, after setting a 2016 high of $48.50.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com