OIL EDGES HIGHER ON HOPES FOR OUTPUT DEAL

NEW YORK – World oil prices rose slightly on Monday on supply concerns in Libya and Nigeria, and after OPEC member Venezuela indicated a deal to limit output was close.

In New York trade, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October added 27 cents over Friday’s close to US$43.30 a barrel. In London, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in November won 22 cents to reach US$45.95 a barrel.

Libya’s effort to sharply boost exports was in question again after fighters loyal to the UN-backed unity government were repelled on Sunday in their attempt to retake control of eastern oil ports from rival forces.

The fighting led a Maltese-flagged tanker to turn back out to sea for safety, abandoning plans to load crude oil at Ras Lanuf. It would have been the port’s first export since 2014.

But the market was encouraged after Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro said on Sunday that participants in coming producer talks by the 14-nation OPEC cartel and Russia are working on a deal.

“Maduro said on Sunday that OPEC and non-OPEC countries were close to reaching an agreement to stabilize the price, and these comments have led traders to speculate that we could see a production freeze announced next week,” David Cheetham of brokerage XTB said.

“Given the number of false starts on the OPEC rumor mill, the Venezuelan president’s comments should be taken with a grain or two of salt,” CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler said.

“But in combination with two of Libya’s ports used for oil exports falling under militia control, the supply picture looks cloudy enough to warrant some bullishness after a down-week.”

Intensifying concerns over Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude exporter, added to the supply backdrop on Monday.

A militant group on Monday claimed an attack on a crude oil pipeline in southern Delta state, the second on the same line in less than a week.
– AFP

.