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Oil prices ease; rebels hit Colombian production

Global oil prices slipped on Monday amid new signs of higher OPEC production but the market was still cautious amid ongoing Iraq violence and a rebel attack on a Colombian pipeline.

NEW YORK: Global oil prices slipped on Monday amid new signs of higher OPEC production but the market was still cautious amid ongoing Iraq violence and a rebel attack on a Colombian pipeline.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery dipped 37 cents to $105.37 a barrel, with losses capped partly by stubborn Iraq concerns.

In London deals, Brent crude for delivery in August sank 94 cents to $112.36 a barrel from Friday's close.

Ongoing tensions in Iraq kept a floor on selling despite some weak US economic data last week, analysts said.

"Crude is under pressure from disappointing US data last week as well as little new developments in Iraq," VTB Capital analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov told AFP on Monday.

But Tim Evans of Citi Futures said that indications that OPEC production had risen some 278,000 barrels per day (bpd) during June to counter worries about possible attacks on Iraq's oil facilities were likely a factor driving sellers.

"The increase may have also reflected some anticipation that the call on OPEC crude oil will be stronger seasonally" during the third quarter, he said.

"Libyan oil production has also reportedly increased to 320,000 bpd from somewhat less than 300,000 bpd last week, with some indications that eastern rebels may be willing to give a new parliament a chance."

Colombia meanwhile said on Monday that the country's oil production would be hurt following an attack against a pipeline that left 13 people wounded.

The army blamed leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas for the attack on a facility along the 780-kilometre (485-mile) Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline, one of the country's main oil conduits.

Pipeline operations were subsequently suspended for security reasons.

"We hope that they will be reactivated as soon as possible," Mining Minister Amylkar Acosta told Radio Caracol.

"Meanwhile, we'll obviously see national production of crude oil and its transport affected."

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