Energy Stocks Face Downward Pressure as Oil Prices Fall Friday
Oil on a downtrend.

If the steady 10.27 million barrels of oil a day the U.S. produced last week is confirmed by monthly figures then the bull rally in oil prices could hit a snag.

Industry benchmark Brent crude prices fell 0.23%, or 15 cents, to $66.24 while West Texas crude declined 0.1%, or 6 cents, to $62.71. 

A supply glut dropped oil prices as low as the high $30's in recent years, but crude prices have steadily risen over the past 18 months as the OPEC oil cartel has cut production in order to increase prices and spur demand. 

However those efforts have been stymied by a suddenly robust U.S. oil market. U.S. shale plays are producing oil at record rates as exports have also increased. Crude exports rose to more than 2 million barrels per day last week, close to the record of 2.1 million barrels that was reached in October. 

In spite of the steady production, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that crude stocks fell unexpectedly by 1.6 million barrels last week. The decline was blamed on low import figures. 

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