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Oil prices dip as US reports rise in crude stockpiles

World oil prices dipped in subdued trading on Wednesday and after the United States reported a rise in its crude stockpiles.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March eased 11 cents to $118.55 a barrel in late London deals.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March, eased four cents to $97.47 a barrel.

The US government's Department of Energy said that the country's crude inventories climbed by 600,000 barrels last week, confirming slack consumer demand.

The United States is the world's largest oil consuming nation -- and the strength of its energy demand is a key influence on the global oil market.

Crude oil production in the US meanwhile averaged more than seven million barrels a day in January, the highest level since November 1992, the International Energy Agency said in its monthly report Wednesday.

According to preliminary estimates, production was up by 910,000 barrels a day compared to January 2012, thanks to the development of non-conventional hydrocarbon sources including shale and tight oil reservoirs.

Total US oil output increased by almost one million barrels a day in 2012, to 9.1 million barrels, according to the report.

Still, the report said lower drilling levels for natural gas will result in decreased volumes of natural gas liquid (NGL).

"Though NGL production growth is expected to be muted in 2013, crude production is expected to grow by" 610,000 barrels per day, the report said, bringing total oil output to 9.8 million barrels per day this year.