MTECHTIPS:-Crude Oil Prices Gain Further Ground on KurdistanTension,

MTECHTIPS:-Crude Oil Prices Gain Further Ground on Kurdistan Tension, Drop in U.S. Production

MTECHTIPS-Oil prices extended last week’s gains on Monday as traders in Wall Street returned to their desks and traders priced in bullish factors such as ongoing tensions in Iraq and another downturn in U.S. shale production. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude December contract gained 28 cents, or 0.54%, to $52.12 a barrel by 7:36 AM ET (11:36 GMT). Elsewhere, Brent oil for December delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London rose 7 cents, or 0.12%, to $57.82 a barrel.Political tensions in the Kurdistan region continued to disrupt crude supplies with oil exports from Iraq’s Kurdistan towards the Turkish port of Ceyhan reportedly flowing at average rates of between 200,000 and 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) versus the usual flows of 600,000 bpd. The supply disruption in Iraq comes amid ongoing political uncertainty in the region following conflict between Iraqi and Kurdish forces. Iraqi troops marched toward Northern Iraq earlier in week and regained control of two major oilfields from Kurdish forces.Meanwhile, in the U.S., investors mulled over data showing oil drilling activity fell for a third week in a row, extending a two-month drilling decline. Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes said late Friday that its weekly count of oil rigs operating in the U.S. fell by seven to 736, the lowest level since June. The weekly rig count is an important barometer for the drilling industry and serves as a proxy for domestic oil production

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