Oil prices drop below $75 for first time in four years amid supply glut

Fortune

Oil prices dropped below $75 Thursday, hitting their lowest levels in four years as higher production creates an excess of supply.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped by $2.85 to $74.33, and has fallen more than 30% since June, when prices were above $107. Meanwhile, Brent crude oil dropped $2.46 on Thursday, to $77.92, for a similar 30% drop in the past five months for the global benchmark.

A major driving force behind the declining prices is U.S. oil production, which has increased to nearly 9 million barrels per day and is expected to average 9.4 million barrels per day in 2015. That would be the highest production levels since 1972, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The increase in production comes as a result of the shale boom in states like North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Struggling economies in Asia and Europe have also contributed…

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