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Oil prices dip as Middle East supply worries ebb

World oil prices Monday fell as traders eyed the imminent resumption of Libyan crude exports and as Iraqi output remained unaffected by ongoing fighting in the country.

NEW YORK: World oil prices Monday fell as traders eyed the imminent resumption of Libyan crude exports and as Iraqi output remained unaffected by ongoing fighting in the country.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery fell 53 cents to $103.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the seventh straight decline, pushing the commodity to the lowest closing price since June 6.

European benchmark Brent oil for delivery in August shed 40 cents to $110.24 a barrel in London.

"The lack of geopolitical risk is forcing oil lower," said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities.

Sunni rebels have overrun swathes of Iraq, but after nearly four weeks of fighting, they have yet to directly threaten the key oil-producing region in the country's south.

The Iraq situation "hasn't cooled down, but there's less anxiety about Iraqi barrels being lost," said Andy Lepow, trader and broker at Jefferies Bache.

Analysts also cited the prospect of an imminent return of some Libyan oil production, which has been offline for months due to political disagreement in the North African country.

Interim Libyan prime minister Abdullah al-Thani announced last week that the government regained control of two ports at Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra following a deal with rebels. The ports could add about 500,000 barrels of crude per day to global energy markets, analysts said.

The sites are also thought to have perhaps seven-10 million barrels of Libyan oil in storage that could be released.

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