Crude Oil Futures Decline Lower

Crude oil futures edged lower Friday, dropping from 4-year highs amid signs that U.S. production will remain robust. Baker Hughes reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 10 to 844 this week, the sixth consecutive weekly increase. June WTI oil falls 66 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $ 70.70/bbl. Still, prices were up 1.4 percent for the week. Yesterday, Bank of America said crude oil prices will march toward $ 100/bl.

Reports suggest Saudi Arabia may end their supply quota plan with fellow OPEC members and Russia in the wake of the Iran sanctions issue. Supply disruptions from Iran could result in another significant jump in oil prices, to the benefit of the booming U.S. shale oil industry.

U.S. crude oil, gasoline and distillate stockpiles fell more than expected last week, as crude imports dropped sharply, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Crude inventories fell by 2.2 million barrels in the week to May 4, compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 719,000 barrels. The decline in inventories came as net crude imports dropped by nearly 1 million barrels per day to 5.4 million bpd, the lowest one-week figure since late February.