- POSTED: 13 Dec 2013 05:18
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Oil prices sank in London Thursday on the expected return of Libyan crude to the market while US prices edged higher.
NEW YORK: Oil prices sank in London Thursday on the expected return of Libyan crude to the market while US prices edged higher.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in January, added 6 cents to close at $97.50 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for January fell $1.03 to finish at $108.67 a barrel in London trade.
There was little in the news to spark any fundamental move in the New York market, after Wednesday's drop on a sharp fall in US commercial crude stockpiles.
"US stockpiles saw the biggest decrease since December 2012. However, this has had little effect on prices as it could be due to an end-of-year push to empty facilities and avoid being taxed on inventories,"said Lucy Sidebotham, analyst at energy consultancy Inenco.
That "doesn't necessarily indicate strong demand."
Brent though headed lower ahead of the expected reopening of Libyan oil terminals, after months of being blockaded by armed protestors. Libya's light crude is valued by European refiners.
On Tuesday the head of the powerful Al-Magharba tribe at the center of the protests said that export could resume from December 15.
The group's protests, as well as blockades of fuel deliveries by the Berber minority, have seen Libya's oil output plunge to about 250,000 barrels per day from normal levels of nearly 1.5 million barrels.
"The Libyan government expects to be able to reopen three ports this weekend," said Sidebotham, while adding that many in the market "are skeptical."