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US oil production falls after 12-week rise

The U.S.’ crude oil production last week declined for the first time after rising for 12 consecutive weeks, according to the U.S.’ Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released Wednesday.

Crude production fell by 9,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 9.3 million bpd for the week ending May 12, ending a three-month rising streak. The last time weekly crude oil output in the country fell was for the week ending Feb. 10, according to the EIA data.

“… this was due to a drop in output from Alaska, where production tends to be volatile. Output in the rest of the U.S. continued to increase,” Thomas Pugh, a commodities economist at London-based Capital Economics, said in a note.

While crude production in Alaska fell 21,000 bpd last week; output from the Lower 48 states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, increased by 12,000 bpd, the EIA data showed.

Commercial crude oil inventories in the U.S. decreased 1.8 million barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 520.8 million barrels for the week ending May 12, marking the sixth consecutive week of decline, according to the EIA.

Gasoline inventories in the country also fell 0.4 million barrels, or 0.2 percent, to 240.7 million barrels during that period.

After the decline in crude and gasoline stocks, oil prices increased in the global market.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate reached $49.48 a barrel with a 1.3 percent gain. International benchmark Brent crude rose to $52.59 per barrel — a 1.7 percent increase — shortly after 1430 GMT on Wednesday.

The U.S.’ oil imports rose 970,000 barrels to 8.59 million barrels for the week ending May 12, according to the EIA.

By Ovunc Kutlu in New York

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