Oil prices fell slightly but Brent crude rose to a two-week high and stayed above $111 a barrel on Tuesday as internal strife in South Sudan threatened the country’s oil output, adding to supply woes at a time when production cuts are happening in Libya.

According to Reuters, Brent crude increased by $0.01 to $111.55 a barrel, while US crude dropped by $0.21 to $98.70.

The situation in South Sudan is expected to cool down as the United Nations doubles the size of its peacekeeping force. Rebel leader Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir have expressed a desire to initiate talks to end a conflict that has already killed hundreds of people.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon asked the UN Security Council to send 5,500 more peacekeepers to the African nation as soon as possible to protect civilians from worsening violence.

Further clashes in Sudan or a cut in the country’s oil supply would add to Libya’s cut in production, where more than 1 million barrels per day have been held at ports shut by a group demanding greater autonomy.

Libya’s oil minister said that force should be used to reopen ports in the eastern part of the country that have been closed for the last five months.

Investors are waiting for American Petroleum Institute and Energy Information Administration data to gauge supply. The reports are scheduled for late today and 27 December respectively.

Image: Developments in South Sudan and Libya have impacted oil markets; Photo: courtesy of Victor Habbick/