* Libyan oilfield pumping 70,000 bpd shut -source
* Saudi oil minister says oil market is rebalancing
* Both benchmarks on track for second weekly gain
* U.S. crude stocks fall unexpectedly as exports jump -EIA
* Coming up: U.S. rig count data from Baker Hughes at 1 p.m.
(Updates market activity, prices, adds commentary; changes
byline, dateline to NEW YORK, previously LONDON)
By Stephanie Kelly
NEW YORK, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose more than 1
percent on Friday, supported by a dip in Libyan production and
upbeat comments from Saudi Arabia that an OPEC-led effort to
erode stockpiles is working.
Brent crude futures rose 78 cents, or 1.2 percent,
to $67.17 a barrel. The global benchmark was on track for a
second straight week of gains, gaining 3.6 percent so far.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures
increased 81 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $63.58 a barrel by 12:20
p.m. EST (1720 GMT). WTI was set for a 3.1 percent weekly gain,
also its second consecutive rise.
Crude rebounded from an early loss after the shutdown of the
El Feel oilfield in Libya, which produces 70,000 barrels per day
of crude. Production in the OPEC-member has been running at
about 1 million bpd, although it remains volatile due to unrest.
"Libya is another outage," said John Kilduff, partner at
investment manager Again Capital in New York. "This market has
benefited from a series of them over the past several months
now, whether it's the Keystone, the North Sea, and now
Prices were also buoyed by comments from Saudi Arabia's
energy minister Khalid al-Falih, who said that oil markets are
rebalancing and that he expected inventories to continue
declining this year.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and
other producers including Russia agreed to cut output by about
1.8 million bpd from January 2017, removing almost 2 percent of
global supply from the market, to end a supply glut that had
triggered an oil price collapse.
OPEC wants to reduce inventories held by industrialised
nations to their five-year average.
On Thursday, data from the Energy Information Administration
showed that U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly
fell 1.6 million barrels last week. Crude stocks at the Cushing,
Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. futures fell 2.7
million barrels last week.
"The inventory levels are coming down, in the U.S. too,"
Again's Kilduff said. "That's why there's definitely a bullish
narrative around the market right now."
Rising U.S. production has hurt OPEC's efforts to drain
supplies. Output rose to its highest since the 1970s in late
2017, and by the end of 2018 is expected to top 11 million bpd.
U.S. crude exports are rising with output. Thursday's EIA
data showed exports of U.S. crude jumped to just above 2 million
bpd, close to a record 2.1 million hit in October.
"Robust oil production in the U.S. will continue to cap
price gains," said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at
Interfax Energy’s Global Gas Analytics in London.
An indicator of future production, the U.S. oil rig count
for this week will be issued later on Friday.
(Additional reporting by Alex Lawler in London and Henning
Gloystein in Singapore)
First Published: 2018-02-23 04:12:17
Updated 2018-02-23 19:40:51
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