NYMEX-Oil steady above $79 ahead of US data, EU summit

SINGAPORE, June 26 Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:52pm EDT

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SINGAPORE, June 26 (Reuters) - U.S. oil held steady above $79 on Tuesday as forecasts of a drop in crude stockpiles supported prices amid low expectations that a European summit this week could resolve the region's debt crisis and boost global fuel demand.

U.S. crude edged up 14 cents to $79.35 a barrel by 2349 GMT, after settling down at $79.21 a barrel on Monday.

FUNDAMENTALS

* U.S. crude oil stockpiles were forecast to have fallen by 700,000 barrels last week due to a drop in imports, a preliminary Reuters poll showed.

* Some of the Gulf of Mexico's biggest oil and gas producers began to restart production and restaff evacuated platforms on Monday as Tropical Storm Debby slowly headed for the Florida panhandle, away from energy infrastructure in the basin.

* Norwegian gas and oil exports are not threatened for now by a strike by oil workers, the oil minister said on Monday and urged the parties involved to make the stoppage as short as possible.

* Saudi Arabia is showing no sign of changing its policy of high oil output to support global economic growth, despite a fall in crude prices below $90 a barrel for the first time in 18 months.

* EU governments on Monday formally approved an embargo on Iranian oil to start on July 1, dismissing calls by debt-ridden Greece for possible exemptions to help ease its economic crisis.

* The U.S. government published its first official forecast for booming "tight oil" production on Monday, estimating that shale formations such as the Bakken in North Dakota will more than double output in the next two decades.

MARKETS NEWS

* A fifth euro zone country turned to Brussels for emergency funding on Monday when Cyprus announced it was seeking a lifeline for its banks and its budget, hours after Spain submitted a formal request to bail out its banks.

* Global stock indexes and the euro sank on Monday on doubts that a European summit this week would move any closer to solving the region's debt crisis, a pessimistic outlook that sparked a bid for safe-haven assets.

DATA/EVENTS

* The following data is expected on Tuesday:

- 1400 GMT U.S. consumer confidence for June

- 2030 GMT API weekly oil stocks (Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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