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Robust inventories combined with moderate weather in the U.S. to bring the price of natural gas to a 28-month low. Crude oil prices remained strong, however, as Middle East tensions brought on by Iran’s threat to disrupt traffic through the Straits of Hormuz kept oil traders nervous. Oil demand in the U.S. ended the year at a 14-year low of 18 million bpd, a full million barrels below last year’s level. The international rig count softened in November, with 1,672 rigs running, a decline of 33. In the US, there was a similar drop in the rig count, though it remained above the 2,000 mark. North American oil production also fell slightly as demand continued to slacken.
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