Oil prices fall but supply tight with focus on outages
* Global supply tight with focus on output losses
* Mixed supply signals as Norwegian workers step up strike
* Production problems in Libya
* Trump, Putin set to meet in Helsinki
(Updates detail, prices, comment; paragraphs 2, 6-7)
By Christopher Johnson
LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) - Oil prices slipped on Monday as
concerns about supply disruptions eased and Libyan ports
reopened while traders eyed potential supply increases by Russia
and other oil producers.
Brent crude fell $1.49 to a low of $73.84 before
recovering a little to trade around $74.00, down $1.33, by 1030
GMT. U.S. light crude was down $1.15 at $69.86.
Supply outages in Libya, a labour dispute in Norway and
unrest in Iraq all helped push oil prices higher late last week,
although prices still fell for a second straight week.
Russia and other oil producers could raise output by 1
million barrels per day (bpd) or more if shortages hit the
market, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters
"If we need more than 1 million bpd, I don't rule out that
we can quickly discuss it and make a quick decision," he said.
Commerzbank commodities analyst Carsten Fritsch said the
outlook for supply was unclear with news of disruptions from
several oil producers, but Saudi Arabia and Russia had reminded
the market of their determination to pump more oil if needed.
"Novak's comments indicate that Russia and Saudi Arabia
could raise production fast if needed," Fritsch said.
Production at Libya's giant Sharara oilfield was expected to
fall by at least 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) after two staff
were abducted in an attack by an unknown group, the National Oil
Corporation said on Saturday.
A Norwegian union for workers on offshore oil and gas
drilling rigs stepped up a six-day strike on Monday that has hit
In Iraq, two protesters died on Sunday in clashes with
security forces in the town of Samawa amid anger in southern
cities over public services and corruption.
Demonstrations have not yet affected crude production in
Basra, whose shipments account for more than 95 percent of OPEC
producer Iraq's state revenue. But any disruption could severely
impact the country's economy and push up prices.
Investors are also on edge over the impact of the trade
dispute between the United States and its big trading partners.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir
Putin were set to hold their first stand-alone meeting in
Helsinki on Monday. Trump has been vocal about his
dissatisfaction with higher oil prices, asking OPEC to lower
Stephen Innes at brokerage OANDA said U.S.-China trade
tensions "should subside this week and could be a possible plus
for oil prices," but a possible sale of U.S. oil reserves would
The United States holds a reserve of about 660 million
barrels, and the Trump administration was considering drawing on
the country's oil reserve, which would increase supply,
according to a Bloomberg report.
(Reporting by Jane Chung in Seoul and Christopher Johnson in
London; editing by Jason Neely and Susan Fenton)
First Published: 2018-07-16 03:02:03
Updated 2018-07-16 12:38:35
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