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[NEW YORK] US energy firms cut 13 oil rigs for the first time in seven weeks, as a renewed slump in prices this summer forced drillers to make a second round of cut-backs.
The decline brings the total to the week ending Sept 4 down to 662, the lowest since mid-July, oil services company Baker Hughes Inc said in its closely followed report on Friday.
The decline comes the same week new government data showed the US oil industry pumped less crude than initially estimated this year, evidence that drillers were scaling back production amid collapsing prices.
The revised June production data, released Monday, helped US crude prices surge as much as $3 a barrel, but the rally was short lived.
The oil market shadowed Wall Street through most of this week, rising and falling in tandem with stock prices.
US crude's front-month was down about 1 percent in early trading along with equities, but pared losses after the rig data and was trading down 5 cents at $46.70 a barrel.
US crude futures fell from a six-month high of $61.43 in June to $37.75 on Aug. 24, a 6-1/2-year low, due to oversupply worries and uninspiring demand growth.
The Energy Information Administration said its new survey-based output data showed the United States pumped a hair below 9.3 million barrels per day in June, down by 100,000 bpd from a revised May figure.
The June figure was also nearly 250,000 bpd below what the EIA had estimated a few weeks ago, highlighting the steep reversal in output as a five-year boom sours and suggesting to some analysts that a global glut might ease sooner than expected.