Oil prices drop as broad market sell-off outweighs supply concerns

Oil falls after Russia preaches patience rather than production cuts

"We lack any certainty other than that the market is oversupplied in the USA and everybody else is trying to deal with it".

A US decision to grant waivers to some of Iran's oil customers, who faced the prospect of a drop-off in supply from sanctions that came into force in early November, has also helped soothe concern about availability of crude.

IEA's Birol also continued to warn OPEC and its partners against the impact of resuming supply cuts. The boom and bust in oil prices was all about Iran sanctions, which turned out to be a bit of a joke after its customers were given waivers. This major catalyst could be the OPEC/non-OPEC meeting on December 6-7, at which the cartel and allies may announce a fresh production cut to stop the price decline, stabilize markets, and erase fears of looming oversupply threatening to sink prices again.

The rising drilling activity points to a further increase in US crude oil production, which has already jumped by nearly a quarter this year, to a record 11.7 million bpd.

Oil prices are off 25 percent from their four-year highs reached in early October, after the massive sell-off that began later that month which dragged crude oil squarely into bear market territory in November, completely wiping out this year's gains.

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A trade dispute between the United States and China is one reason investors are a lot warier about the outlook for oil demand growth next year.

As trader await API inventory data tonight, expected to show a ninth weekly increase - the longest streak in a year - concerns grow that Russian Federation may not play nice with OPEC and cut production when they meet next month.

In a struggle to find firm footing after prices fell over $20 per barrel since early October, Brent on Monday settled up a paltry 3 cents to $66.79 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate rose 30 cents to settle at $56.76. Total volume traded was about 5 percent below the 100-day average.

While Saudi Arabia has said producers may have to cut output by 1 million barrels a day, Novak wants them to "make a balanced decision, and so far there are no criteria for it".

In other news, US energy firms added two oil rigs in the week to November 16, bringing the total count to 888, the highest level since March 2015, according to energy services firm Baker Hughes. Meanwhile, the world's top producers - the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia - have been pumping at or near records. 9, according to government data. "So far the daily lows from Friday and Thursday of last week have been violated and today's price action is now testing last Wednesday's low of $55.38 per barrel, on the way to testing last Tuesday's bottom of $55.11 per barrel", he said earlier in the day, when prices were lower.

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