UPDATE 4-Oil falls 1 percent as bullish bets fade with U.S. output rise
* U.S. rig count at highest since Sept. 2015 - Baker Hughes
* Libya's NOC says confident will regain control of oil
* Speculators cut net long oil positions for third week -
(Updates throughout, changes dateline, previous SINGAPORE)
By Karolin SchapsLONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell more than 1
percent on Monday as investors made record cuts to bets on
rising prices after strong drilling data from the United States
fed concerns about the effectiveness of OPEC-led production cuts
to curb a supply glut.
Benchmark Brent crude futures <LCOc1> were down 60 cents at
$51.16 a barrel at 0934 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI)
crude futures <CLc1> were trading 71 cents lower at $48.07 a
"Speculative investors have thrown in the towel it seems.
We've got record selling in the week ending March 14 and the
bleeding has not stopped yet," said Carsten Fritsch, senior
commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
"The continued increase in U.S. oil rigs adds to the bearish
U.S. drillers added 14 oil rigs in the week to March 17,
bringing the total count up to 631, the most since September
2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc <BHI.N> said on
Friday. This extends a recovery that is expected to boost shale
production by the most in six-months in April. [nL2N1GR0OP]
Growing U.S. production is playing into concerns that a
global production cut deal by the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries and non-OPEC members is having less of an
The prospect of higher output from Libya, which is exempt
from the output cut deal, is adding further bearish sentiment.
Libya'sNational Oil Corporation (NOC) said it was confident
of regaining control of two key oil ports, Es Sider and Ras
Lanuf, which have a combined capacity to export 600,000 bpd.
Reacting to the oil glut, financial oil traders cut their
net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to
March 14, the third consecutive reduction, the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday. [nL2N1GU1MY]
The reduction in net long positions was the largest on
record, according to CFTC data compiled by Reuters.
"Hedge selling from producers and long-liquidation from
funds is a bearish cocktail," said Ole Hansen, Saxo Bank's head
of commodity strategy.
(Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein in Singapore;
Editing by Edmund Blair)
Keywords: GLOBAL OIL/ (UPDATE 4)