Oil Steadies Above $50 as Libya Works to Revive Production

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  • OPEC output gained 120,000 barrels a day in September
  • Libyan supply set to recover from 5-month low after stoppage

Oil steadied near $50 a barrel in New York after slumping on Monday, as OPEC member Libya worked to revive output at its biggest oil field.

West Texas Intermediate futures were little changed after dropping 2.1 percent to a one-week low on Monday. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 32.83 million barrels a day in September, up 120,000 barrels a day from August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Libyan production is set to recover from a five-month low as the nation’s biggest field restarts following a brief halt.

Oil capped the biggest monthly advance in September since April 2016 after entering a bull market on forecasts for rising demand and as Turkey said it may halt Kurdish exports through its territory. U.S. crude inventories probably extended declines last week, falling by a projected 500,000 barrels, according to a Bloomberg survey before a government report on Wednesday.

“With news of Libyan output looking to recover back to the 1 million-barrel-a-day level, oil bulls need to hold out for another bout of news on geopolitics,” said Jens Naervig Pedersen, senior analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen.

West Texas Intermediate for November delivery was at $50.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, 7 cents lower, at 10 a.m. in London. Total volume traded was about 49 percent below the 100-day average. Prices slid $1.09 to $50.58 on Monday after advancing 9.4 percent last month.

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Brent for December settlement fell 7 cents to $56.05 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices lost $1.42, or 2.5 percent, to $56.12 on Monday. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $5.22 to December WTI.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, boosted production by 60,000 barrels a day to 10.06 million barrels, while Gulf neighbor Kuwait lifted output by 50,000 barrels to 2.76 million barrels a day, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts, oil companies and ship-tracking data.

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Oil-market news:

  • Libyan output is expected to expand to 1 million barrels a day from 800,000 within two to three days as the Sharara field restarts Tuesday, National Oil Corp. Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said Monday in a televised interview on Libya TV.

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Hamilton Nwosa

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