Oil jumps to highest in more than a week after Libyan shutdowns; crude flow from OPEC member to be cut

Oil prices had fallen back in the last two weeks. After the outbreak of hostilities between the US and Iran at the beginning of the year triggered a jump, both sides took steps to pull back from conflict.

Reuters January 20, 2020 10:53:24 IST
Oil jumps to highest in more than a week after Libyan shutdowns; crude flow from OPEC member to be cut
  • Brent crude futures were up by 74 cents, or 1.1%, to $65.59, having earlier reached $66.00 a barrel, the highest since 9 January

  • After the outbreak of hostilities between the US and Iran triggered a jump, both sides took steps to pull back from conflict, calming the market's mood

  • On Sunday, foreign countries agreed at a summit in Berlin on Sunday to shore up a shaky truce in Libya, even as the talks were overshadowed by the latest blockade.

Tokyo: Oil prices rose to their highest in more than a week on Monday after two large crude production bases in Libya began shutting down amid a military blockade, setting the stage for crude flows from the OPEC member to be cut to a trickle.

Brent crude futures were up by 74 cents, or 1.1percent, to $65.59, having earlier reached $66.00 a barrel, the highest since 9 January. The West Texas Intermediate contract was up by 58 cents, or 1 percent, at $59.12 a barrel, after rising to $59.73, the highest since 10 January.

Oil jumps to highest in more than a week after Libyan shutdowns crude flow from OPEC member to be cut

Representational image. AFP

In the latest development in a long-running conflict in Libya, where two rival factions have claimed the right to rule the country for more than five years, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) on Sunday said two big oilfields in the southwest had begun shutting down after forces loyal to the Libyan National Army closed a pipeline.

“If this sort of disruption endures, it’s meaningful ... the market is right to be reacting with a bullish tone,” said Lachlan Shaw, head of commodity research, at National Australia Bank in Melbourne.

“It just continues to emphasize, notwithstanding that the world market is clearly in surplus and there are plenty of stocks, the fact is the market still depends on a number of key regions that have heightened geopolitical risk.”

Oil prices had fallen back in the last two weeks. After the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Iran at the beginning of the year triggered a jump, both sides took steps to pull back from conflict, calming the market’s mood.

If exports are halted for any sustained period, tanks for storage will fill within days and production will slow to 72,000 barrels per day (bpd), an NOC spokesman said. Libya has been producing around 1.2 million bpd recently.

Also on Sunday, foreign countries agreed at a summit in Berlin on Sunday to shore up a shaky truce in Libya, even as the talks were overshadowed by the latest blockade.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that the Berlin summit, attended by the main backers of the rival Libyan factions, had agreed that a tentative truce in Tripoli over the past week should be turned into a permanent ceasefire to allow a political process to take place.

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