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First time since 2015: Oil prices end 2018 lower than they began the year

First time since 2015: Oil prices end 2018 lower than they began the year
Brent crude oil averaged $72 per barrel (b) in 2018, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) averaged $65/b in 2018. The prices for both crude oils finished the year lower than they began it, Trend reports citing the US Energy Information Administration (EIA),
"Brent and WTI each hit their highest prices during the year on October 3 at $86/b and $76/b, respectively. Prices for each benchmark fell quickly after that, and on December 24, Brent reached an annual low of $50/b and WTI reached an annual low of $43/b," EIA said in its report.
The report shows that Brent ended the year at $54/b, $13/b lower than it began the year, and WTI ended the year at $45/b, $15/b lower than it began the year. "This year marks the first time since 2015 that crude oil prices for these benchmarks ended the year at a lower price than at the beginning of the year."
EIA forecasts that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) total crude oil and other liquids production will average 39.2 million b/d in 2018, down slightly from 39.3 million b/d in 2017.
"Although US sanctions on Iran began on November 5, 2018, the United States granted waivers for some of Iran’s largest customers to continue importing limited volumes of crude oil for six months.Crude oil production increases in Saudi Arabia in the second half of 2018 partially offset Iran’s declining production as a result of the U.S. sanctions on OPEC’s total production levels," said the report.
Russian crude oil and other liquids production increased from an estimated 11.2 million b/d in January to a forecasted 11.6 million b/d in December, according to EIA estimates.
EIA recalled that in an effort to limit excess supply, on December 7, 2018, OPEC and other producing countries (including Russia) announced they would cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day (b/d) from October 2018 levels during the first six months of 2019.

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