Benchmark Brent oil settled at below $62 a barrel and U.S. crude
slumped to under $58 to extend Thursday's landmark fall below $60.
Surging crude inventories in the United States and top oil exporter
Saudi Arabia's reiteration that it will not cut production had
roiled prices over the last two days despite data pointing to strong
U.S. economic recovery.
On Friday, the Paris-based International Energy Agency which
coordinates the energy policies of industrialised countries, cut its
outlook for demand growth in 2015, triggering another collapse.
The IEA slashed its outlook for global oil demand growth for 2015 by
230,000 barrels per day to 900,000 bpd on expectations of lower fuel
consumption in Russia and other oil-exporting countries.
It predicted that oil-producing nations outside of the Organization
of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will add to global supplies. It
also expected prices to fall further.
"That's just more bad news for the oil markets," said Andrew Lipow,
president of Houston-based Lipow Oil Associates.
Brent settled down $1.83, or nearly 3 percent, at $61.85 per barrel.
It fell to $61.35 during the session, the lowest since July 2009.
U.S. crude finished down $2.14, or 3.6 percent, at $57.81. It fell
earlier to $57.34, its lowest since May 2009.
On the week, Brent lost more than $7, or about 11 percent. U.S.
crude tumbled over $8, or 12 percent.
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Both markets have lost about 46 percent of their value since their
June highs, when Brent stood at above $115 and U.S. crude at around
The IEA outlook had a greater impact on Friday's market than data
from U.S. oil services firm Baker Hughes showing the number of rigs
drilling for oil in the United States were down by 29 this week, the
biggest weekly drop in two years.
Voluminous crude from U.S. shale projects has been blamed for much
of the global oil glut now, and energy traders have been watching
rig data to see if prices that have almost halved since June will
prompt a cutback in drilling.
Regulators in North Dakota, one of the largest shale oil producing
states in the United States, also said on Friday the state's crude
production held steady in October despite strict new rules that aim
to prevent wasteful burning of natural gas produced alongside oil.
(Additional reporting by Simon Falush in London and Adam Rose in
Beijing; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Gunna Dickson)
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