Tuesday, August 13 10:43:39
Brent crude oil rose above $109 per barrel today after oil exports from Libya fell to their lowest for two years, heightening supply worries ahead of scheduled cuts in output from fellow OPEC member Iraq.
Striking security guards shut Libya's two biggest crude export terminals on Monday, hours after they had reopened, and more oilfields have closed in a wave of protest that has swept the North African oil producer.
Libya's deputy oil minister said exports could resume as early as Thursday after workers and local authorities reached an agreement to end the strike.
But markets worried supplies could be insufficient to meet demand due to restocking before the northern hemisphere winter.
"Supply issues are keeping the market on edge," said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
Brent crude oil futures for September rose 50 cents to $109.47 per barrel by 0800 GMT, while U.S. light crude oil was up 50 cents to $106.61.
Brent touched a low of $107.43 a barrel on Monday, but rose back above its 200-day moving average at $108.16, a technical marker watched by traders.
"The volatile geopolitical climate in the (Middle East) region is going to keep prices supported as we go out into the fourth-quarter," said Carl Larry, president of Houston-based consultancy Oil Outlooks and Opinions.
Libyan oil output has fallen to its lowest since the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi with the country's total oil production well below 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), down from 1.3 million bpd in June, industry analysts say.
"We think Libyan production is down around 0.4 million bpd," Richard Mallinson, chief policy analyst at London-based consultancy Energy Aspects, told Reuters Global Oil Forum. "Exports would be even lower at around 0.3 million bpd."
Maintenance work at Iraq's key southern oil export hub is expected to cut supplies by 500,000 bpd in September, lending further support to prices in the medium term. (Reuters)