Brent hovers near $107 on Libya, Iraq concerns

Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:26am EDT

Related Topics

* Geopolitical risks in Libya, Iraq support prices

* Brent could climb on threat of supply disruption -trader

* U.S. crude stocks fell by 2 mln barrels last week -Reuters poll

By Keith Wallis

SINGAPORE July 15 (Reuters) - Brent crude inched down on Tuesday, but held near $107 a barrel as worries over conflict in the Middle East and North Africa supported prices.

Several soldiers were killed and aircraft were damaged in Libya on Monday, as rival militias in the OPEC nation fought for control of Tripoli's airport in the worst violence for six months.

"The market is still concerned about Iraq and Libya. I don't think we are out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination," said Tony Nunan, oil risk manager at Tokyo's Mitsubishi Corp.

Brent futures had dropped 18 cents to $106.80 a barrel by 0423 GMT, after climbing 32 cents to settle at $106.98 in the previous session. Prices remain near their lowest in three months.

U.S. crude climbed 5 cents to $100.96 a barrel, consolidating an 8-cent gain from the day before.

Brent has steadily fallen since prices soared to a nine-month high of $115.71 in mid-June. That climb came after Islamic insurgents took control of swathes of northern and western Iraq, although output from the main southern oilfields has remained unaffected by the violence.

But Brent could rise again as traders take forward positions on expectations there will be further threats to oil supplies in Iraq, Nunan said.

Investors are also waiting for U.S. oil inventory data on Tuesday, after a Reuters poll of analysts forecast a 2 million barrel drop in stocks last week as refiners increased activity, while gasoline and distillate stocks both rose.

The market was also keeping an eye on geopolitical issues in Iran and Ukraine.

Tehran and six world powers are racing to conclude an agreement on Iran's nuclear programme ahead of a July 20 deadline.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russian military staff officers on Monday of fighting alongside separatists in the east of the country and said a newly-developed Russian missile system was being used against government forces. (Reporting by Keith Wallis; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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