SYDNEY: Oil prices dipped on Thursday as U.S. crude production quickly approached an unprecedented 12 million barrels per day (bpd) just as worries about weakening demand emerge.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52 per barrel at 0140 GMT, down 31 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their last settlement.
International Brent crude oil futures were down 34 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $60.98 per barrel.
American crude oil production reached a record 11.9 million bpd in the week ending Jan. 11, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday, up from 11.7 million bpd last week, which was already the highest national output in the world.
U.S. output has soared by 2.4 million bpd since January 2018, stoking fears of a supply glut.
The EIA also said gasoline stockpiles climbed 7.5 million barrels last week, far exceeding analyst expectations in a poll for a 2.8 million-barrel gain. At 255.6 million barrels, gasoline stocks were at their highest weekly level since February 2017.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 3.0 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.6 million-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.
U.S. EXPORTS SURGE, OPEC CUTS
Along with the surge in U.S. crude output, exports from the United States are also rising, hitting a record 3.2 million bpd by the end of last year.
Soaring U.S. supply comes amid concerns over stuttering demand-growth due to a global economic slowdown, which some analysts believe will turn into a recession.
To stem a lurking petroleum glut, the Middle East-dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producer Russia are leading efforts to cut supply.
This has prevented crude prices from falling much lower despite softening demand and the surge in U.S. output.