Oil tumbles on Iran, Libya; worry about high supply returns

Mon Mar 2, 2015 4:11pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Barani Krishnan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brent futures fell 5 percent, its most in a month, on Monday as speculation of a nuclear deal that could lift Iran's sanctions and boost its oil exports brought worries about high supplies back to the market.

Rising Libyan crude output and a firmer dollar also weighed on Brent.

U.S. crude futures also fell but only slightly, supported by data suggesting a smaller-than-expected build last week in the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for oil.

Players were also betting the spread between the two oils would narrow after Brent's premium to U.S. crude hit a 13-month high on Friday, market sources said.

"I think we've been subjected to a reality check after the fake rallies of last week," said Dominick Chirichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute in New York. "The reality is there's a huge surplus of oil not only in the United States, but also globally, and it's growing."

Brent's front-month LCOc1 fell below the psychological $60-a-barrel support, closing down $3.04 at $59.54, after talk of a sooner-than-expected nuclear deal for Tehran. Brent rose 4 percent last week to finish February up 18 percent.

Monday's tumble came after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said a deal on Iran's nuclear program could be concluded this week if the United States and other Western countries had sufficient political will and were agreeable to removing sanctions.

Iranian oil exports have been restricted for several years now by U.S. and European sanctions, although Tehran says its nuclear plans are peaceful.   Continued...

An oil well is seen near Denver, Colorado February 2, 2015.   REUTERS/Rick Wilking