SEOUL, Dec 27 (Reuters): Oil prices tumbled more than 1 per cent to below $58 a barrel in post-holiday trade today, pressured by warmer than usual weather across the United States and a recovery in crude production from OPEC member Nigeria.
February crude futures fell 72 cents to $57.71 a barrel in light trade, having gained 15 cents Friday. The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) was closed Monday.
Natural gas futures led the decline, plunging 7 per cent to $11.42 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), extending last week's sharp decline.
Overall US heating fuel demand is forecast to be 27.7 per cent below normal in the week to Dec 31, with heating oil demand in the key consuming Northeast region about a quarter less than usual, the National Weather Service said in a forecast.
Oil prices were also undermined by news that Royal Dutch Shell's had managed to restore most of its production in Nigeria after unknown gunmen attacked two pipelines on Dec. 20, setting off a huge blaze and oil slick.
Chinese data from Monday also put a damper on the market as it showed that oil demand was basically flat in November, halting several months of strong growth and dimming hopes for a year-end rebound in consumption from the world's No. 2 user.