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May 19, 2014

Today’s oil prices rise as Libyan tensions flare

Oil prices rose today as the threat of further violence in Libya threw into question the country's ability to ramp up its crude exports.

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Oil prices rose today as the threat of further violence in Libya threw into question the country’s ability to ramp up its crude exports.

Brent crude rose by 15 cents to $109.52 a barrel, while US oil increased by six cents to settle at $102.67, reported Reuters.

Crude prices increased after Libya’s major western oilfields, El Sharara and El Feel, remained shut, a week after the government and protesters reached a deal to reopen them.

Libyan oil output was capped at 210,000bpd, far below the 1.4 million barrels per day produced through mid-2013.

Due to the clashes in Libya over the weekend, French oil company Total has cut its presence in capital Tripoli to a minimum due to security concerns, while Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach has evacuated workers from Libya.

"Libyan oil output was capped at 210,000bpd, far below the 1.4 million barrels per day produced through mid-2013."

Oil prices also gained support from the Ukraine crisis as NATO and the US said they saw no sign of troop movements, following a Kremlin announcement that President Vladimir Putin had ordered Russian forces near Ukraine back to their bases.

Europe’s Energy Commissioner said that a discussion with Russia’s Energy Minister and Gazprom were held on Monday, with progress in the gas price dispute between Russia and Ukraine, and a new round of negotiations scheduled for 26 May.

However, a further increase in oil prices was cut after Reuters analysts revealed that the US commercial crude stocks were expected to have risen by one million barrels in the week ending 16 May.

Investors are now waiting for the American Petroleum Institute (API) weekly inventory data, which is scheduled for release later today.


Image: The Ukraine crisis continued to support oil prices. Photo: courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net/Hin255.

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