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Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower

Crude oil prices plunged sharply on Friday amid rising concerns about the outlook for energy demand following a surge in coronavirus cases and the imposition of fresh restrictions in some European countries.

Traders also continued to weigh the impact of potential releases of crude reserves by the world's two largest economies in a coordinated effort to cool energy prices and tame surging inflation.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December settled at $75.94 a barrel, losing $2.47 or about 3.2%.

Brent crude futures were down $2.49 or 3.07% at $78.75 a barrel a little while ago.

According to Baker Hughes, the number of active drilling rigs increased by 7 this week.

The total rig count now stands at 563, which is up 253 from this time last year. Nevertheless, active rigs are still hundreds less than the 790 active rigs that were drilling in the pre-covid world.

The U.S. oil rig count rose by 7 to 461. The number of gas rigs, as well as the miscellaneous rigs remained the same this week.

The EIA's estimate for oil production in the United States for the week ending November 12 slipped 100,000 bpd to 11.4 million bpd.

Oil production is still well below the 13.1 million bpd record set last year before the pandemic took hold in the United States.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) released on Thursday, crude oil prices are set to decline next year from the current levels as global inventories will start to build again with supply rising more than demand.

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