"We do not find any real justification for the big and persistent drop in oil prices," the Iraqi minister said.
Oil rebounded in Asia today as traders bought the commodity at cheaper prices following a slide to near six-year lows, analysts said. But analysts do not expect the upturn to last, as
weakening global demand and a supply glut show no signs of abating. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for March delivery was up 44 cents at USD 46.91 in afternoon trade. The February contract expired on Tuesday at $46.39, down $2.30 from the day before and not far from its lowest level since March 2009.
Brent North Sea crude for March, the international benchmark, added 44 cents to $48.42.The Iraqi minister said current low oil prices will knock out part of the high-cost production, especially shale oil.
This is likely to reduce the amount of surplus production currently estimated at 2.5 million barrels per day, and support prices, he said. The world's biggest miner BHP Billiton said on Wednesday that it was cutting back its operating US shale oil rigs by 40 percent because of the price slump, but still expected output to rise for the financial year.
BHP said it would reduce the number of rigs from 26 to 16 by the end of June. Shale volumes were still forecast to grow by approximately 50 percent during the period.

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