Oil prices plummet amidst increasing U.S. drilling activity and steady OPEC supply

Oil prices extended losses on Monday to trade near a four-month low after increased drilling activity in the US indicated a strong rise in production was coming.

Malaysian output last fell 1.4 percent in February on-month, while end-stocks declined 5.3 percent to 1.46 million tonnes. Saudi Arabia pledged to cut production to 10.058 million barrels a day under the deal.

OPEC members are cutting production in an effort to drive up oil prices, but a robust US output has prevented any significant rally.

"The ministers will meet in May to decide, but everyone has to be on board", an OPEC source from a major producer said. West Texas Intermediate, a US petroleum price indicator, slipped to $48.22 per barrel Monday, ending what appeared to be the start of a recovery from a drop to below $48 from over $53 earlier in the month.

Palm oil looks neutral in a range of 2,767-2,810 ringgit per tonne, and an escape could signal a direction, said Wang Tao, a Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals.

The average daily production in March was 1.51 mln tonnes versus 1.532 mln tonnes last October [a factor of 7.33 was used for conversion into barrels - TASS].

Brent crude was down 29 cents per barrel on Monday, easing 0.56 percent to trade at $51.47 per barrel.

United States drillers added 14 oil rigs in the week to last Friday, bringing the total up to 631, the most since September 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes said last Friday.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast Iran expanding its crude oil production by 400,000 barrels per day to 4.15 million bpd by 2022.

The revival of shale oil production - whose growth added to the oversupply that battered oil prices in mid-2014 - has restrained the rally this year and may worry OPEC leaders.

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