Oil prices fall as Libyan production recovery weighs

Mon Apr 3, 2017 3:18pm EDT
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By Scott DiSavino

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday as a rebound in Libyan oil output weighed against upbeat economic data from Asia that pointed to strong energy demand from the region.

Benchmark Brent LCOM7 futures for June delivery lost 41 cents, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $53.12 a barrel. That, however, was up 29 cents from Friday's close when May was still the front-month LCOc1, making it the highest close for the contract in nearly four weeks.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1, meanwhile, declined 36 cents, or 0.7 percent to settle at $50.24 per barrel.

Traders noted both U.S. and Brent futures retreated in intraday trade after failing to rise much above their 100-day moving averages, a technical resistance level.

Libya's Sharara oil field, the country's largest, resumed production on Sunday after a week-long disruption. State-owned NOC lifted force majeure on loadings of Sharara crude on Monday, sources told Reuters.

The field was producing around 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Monday and about 220,000 bpd prior to the March 27 shutdown.

"The main development over the weekend is the restart of Sharara," managing director of PetroMatrix Olivier Jakob said.

Uncertainty about Libyan output added volatility to oil prices, he said, calling it "a swing factor that can make it move both ways if one looks at the balances for the second half of the year."   Continued...

A pump jack is seen at sunrise near Bakersfield, California October 14, 2014.   REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo