U.S. oil prices fell about 5 percent on Friday after U.S. energy firms cut oil rigs for a third week in a row this week, data showed on Friday, a sign the latest crude price weakness was causing drillers to put on hold plans announced several months ago to return to the well pad.
The drop comes amid increased concerns about the outlook for energy demand. The U.S. central bank warned of the health of the global economy and bearish signs persisted that the world's biggest crude producers would keep pumping at high levels.
Drillers removed eight rigs in the week ended Sept. 18, bringing the total rig count down to 644, after cutting 23 rigs over the prior two weeks, oil services company Baker Hughes Inc said in its closely followed report.
Those reductions cut into the 47 oil rigs energy firms added in July and August after some drillers followed through on plans to add rigs announced in May and June when U.S. crude futures averaged $60 a barrel.