Oil falls amid doubts Opec curbs will counter shale production

USA crude production has jumped by over 10 percent since mid-2016 to 9.34 million bpd.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures were down $1.15, or 2.2 per cent, at $50.69 a barrel by 1039GMT, after earlier touching $50.63 a barrel, the weakest since May 12.

Still, oil markets received some support from official U.S. data that showed the country's crude inventories fell sharply last week as refining and exports surged to record highs. The EIA report, which is routinely issued on Wednesday, was delayed by a day due to the Memorial Day holiday.

Post-settlement, prices pared some losses as data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed crude inventories fell by 8.7 million barrels in the week to May 26 to 513.2 million, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 2.5 million barrels.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures traded at $48.70, down 96 cents, or two per cent.

The main factor for Brent is whether a decision led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to extend a pledge to cut production by around 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of the first quarter of 2018 will significantly tighten the market to end years of oversupply.

Refinery crude runs rose 229,000 bbl/d to 17.5 million bbl/d, surpassing its last peak at 17.3 million bbl/d in the week to April 21, and utilization rates increased 1.5 percentage points to 95% of nationwide capacity, data showed.

United States production could be up to 800-1,000 million barrels per day higher year on year by end-2017, according to the Fitch forecasts.

Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes on Friday reported its weekly count of oil rigs rose for a 20th straight week.

Although a sharp fall of USA crude inventories could be seen as a supportive factor to oil prices, US crude production rose to 9.35 million bpd last week, up almost 500,000 bpd from a year ago.

Song said the company is still interested in U.S. condensate and heavy crude oil from U.S. Gulf region, as long as it was economically viable.

USA production rose for the 14th time in 15 weeks, according to Energy Information Administration data.

The low prices come as traders were wary of high supplies despite the OPEC-led effort to cut output.

Oil demand will continue to grow in coming decades even as nations around the world restrict greenhouse-gas emissions to counter climate change, said Exxon Mobil Corp.

Growing worry over crude oversupply after Libya increased output has sent worldwide oil prices lower, which is likely to result in a price cut of NT$0.5 (US$0.017) per liter for gasoline and diesel at CPC Corp.

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