Oil prices have risen as Iraq suspends crude loadings at two export terminals following a pipeline leak.

Brent crude was up 47 cents and traded at $46.72 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude increased 37 cents to $45.13 a barrel, Reuters reported.

Initially, loading was suspended at Jetty-4 and later on from all jetties at Basra Oil Terminal, as well as Jetty-7 of the Khor al-Amaya terminal.

"Oil prices continued their period of weakness."

A preliminary loading programme highlighted that loadings restarted overnight from crude oil jetties, but the country plans to cut exports from its southern ports to 2.79 million barrels per day (bpd) next month, from 2.99 million bpd planned for this month.

Oil prices also gained support from an ongoing uncertainty over production in Nigeria following claims made by rebels that they had attacked US-based Exxon Mobil’s facilities.

ANZ bank told the news agency: "Oil prices continued their period of weakness as investors remained concerned that increasing exploration activity in the US would see US production and inventories remain high."

Oil refiners in Asia are struggling with margins that declined after the region was over supplied with refined products, and are processing less crude.