• Thursday, February 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

Brent crude rises most in 2 weeks as Libyan ports remain shut

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Brent crude rose the most in two weeks in London, on Friday, rebounding from an earlier drop, as four major ports in Libya remain shut. Futures gained as much as 0.8 percent.

Of the country’s six major oil-shipping ports, Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Zuetina and Hariga are shut. Libya, holder of Africa’s largest proven reserves, pumped 210,000 barrels a day in December, unchanged from the prior month and the lowest since 2011.

“In Libya, we have seen a few hopes being quashed over the past couple of months,” said Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “It’s a bit like Jerry Maguire saying, ‘Show me the money.’ In other words, is this latest news going to spread to the important east, which is still blocked?”

Brent for February settlement gained as much as 86 cents, the most since Dec. 20, to $108.64 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe in London. The contract traded at $107.98 as of 1:08 p.m. local time.

WTI for February was unchanged at $95.44 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, rebounding from a drop of as much as 0.3 percent.

The US benchmark crude was at a discount of $12.54 a barrel to Brent.

“The restart of Sharara should increase crude-oil output in Libya from about 250,000 barrels a day to about 600,000 barrels a day,” Olivier Jakob, managing director at Zug, Switzerland-based consulting company Petromatrix GmbH, said.

Libya produced an average of 1.55 million barrels a day in 2010; data compiled by Bloomberg show, and had aimed to raise daily output to 2 million barrels via increased exploration.

The country exported 249 million barrels of oil, equivalent to 1.05 million barrels a day, from January to November 2013, according to state-run National Oil Corp. Only Zuetina and Mellitah are now operating among Libya’s six major ports.