Oil jumps on Libyan disruption, OPEC deal extension hopes
By Devika Krishna Kumar
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose as much as 2 percent on Tuesday after a severe disruption to Libyan oil supplies and as officials suggested OPEC and other producing countries could extend an output-cuts deal to the end of the year.
Armed factions have blocked production at the western Libyan oilfields of Sharara and Wafa, reducing output by 252,000 barrels per day (bpd), about a third PRODN-LY, said a source at the National Oil Corp (NOC).
NOC has declared force majeure on crude loadings from those oilfields.
Brent crude LCOc1 rose 58 cents, or 1.14 percent to settle at $51.33 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 ended the session 64 cents, or 1.34 percent higher at$48.37 a barrel. Both benchmarks were up about 2 percent at their session highs.
"The closure of two Libyan oil fields ... is supporting the market today with the timing of a potential restart uncertain after militias in western Libya shut key pipelines," Tim Evans, an energy futures specialist at Citi Futures said in a note.
"Past outages have ranged from a few days all the way up to two years, although the need for oil revenues will be a strong incentive to negotiate a pipeline restart sooner rather than later."
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said the deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cut output and reduce the global crude glut is likely to be extended beyond June. Russia, a non-OPEC member, is seen as a wild card. However, Russia and Iran signed a joint statement saying they will keep cooperating to reduce output.
Non-OPEC member Azerbaijan also said it was ready to join an extension of the deal. Continued...