* Iran sold over 13 mln barrels of crude stored on tankers
* U.S. drillers add rigs for 10th weeks
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE, Jan 9 Oil prices fell early on Monday
as Iran increased exports undermining efforts by other oil
producers to curb a global fuel supply overhang and as U.S.
drillers increased activity for a 10th week.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for
oil prices, were trading at $56.97 per barrel at 0019 GMT, down
13 cents from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures
were trading at $53.79 per barrel, down 20 cents.
Traders said that the lower prices were a result of rising
exports from Iran that come just as other members of the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut
supplies in an effort to end a global glut.
Iran has sold more than 13 million barrels of oil held on
tankers at sea, capitalising on an OPEC output cut deal from
which it is exempted to regain market share and court new
buyers, according to industry sources and data.
The amount of Iranian oil held at sea has dropped to 16.4
million barrels, from 29.6 million barrels at the beginning of
October, according to Thomson Reuters Oil Flows data.
Before that sharp drop, the level had barely changed in
2016; it was 29.7 million barrels at the start of last year, the
Iran's surging tanker exports weren't the only indicator of
In the United States, U.S. energy companies last week added
oil rigs for a tenth week in a row, extending the drilling
recovery into an eighth month as crude prices remained at levels
at which many U.S. drillers can operate profitably.
"The next leg up in prices probably won't occur until the
traders see evidence that production levels are falling. In the
meantime, rising U.S. drilling activity and output is likely to
keep prices in check," ANZ bank said on Monday.
Drillers added four oil rigs in the week to Jan. 6, bringing
the total count up to 529, the most since December 2015, energy
services firm Baker Hughes Inc BHI.N said on Friday.
As a result of the increased drilling for new production,
U.S. oil output C-OUT-T-EIA has risen by over 4 percent since
its 2016 low to almost 8.8 million barrels per day, although
production remains 8.74 percent below its 2015 peak.
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Michael Perry)