- POSTED: 04 Jan 2014 06:47
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Global oil prices fell Friday, pushed by the expected return to the market of Libyan supplies and a bearish report on commercial stockpiles.
WASHINGTON: Global oil prices fell Friday, pushed by the expected return to the market of Libyan supplies and a bearish report on commercial stockpiles.
In New York, West Texas Intermediate for February delivery fell $1.48 to $93.96 a barrel. Friday's fall left the US benchmark more than $6 down from a week earlier.
And in London, Brent crude for February gave up 89 cents from Thursday to $106.89 a barrel.
The US Energy Information Administration's weekly stockpiles report appeared at first glance a strong support for prices -- commercial crude inventories fell by 7.0 million barrels to 360.6 million barrels, more than triple the fall predicted.
Some analysts suggested that year-end destocking for balance sheet reasons was behind the sharp fall.
The EIA data showed rises in product stockpiles such as gasoline, suggesting demand was not as strong as the fall in crude reserves implied.
Also behind the fall was the expected return of more Libyan crude to the market as protests that have blocked production and shipping for months eased.
"The Libyan government is preparing to reopen one of its larger oilfields, El Sharara, over the next few days, as protesters agree to stop a strike that has cut the field's production for three months," said Lucy Sidebotham at British-based energy consultancy Inenco.
The market was also supported by concerns about Iraqi exports after militants bombed a major oil pipeline in the northern region of the country on Thursday.
Blasts hit the pipeline, which runs to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, in Salaheddin province to the north of Baghdad, according to an official, who added that the fire was extinguished and repairs had begun.