* Iran deal to take effect Jan. 20
* Obama urges Congress not to impose new sanctions against
* Disappointing U.S. jobs numbers suggest Fed may slow
By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen
SINGAPORE, Jan 13 Brent crude edged lower toward
$107 a barrel on Monday after six nations struck a fresh
six-month deal with Iran to curb its nuclear programme and U.S.
President Barack Obama urged Congress not to impose additional
sanctions on the country.
Crude oil prices trended lower following gains on Friday
after weaker-than-forecast U.S. non farm payrolls suggested the
Federal Reserve may slow down tapering its bond-buying stimulus.
Brent crude for February delivery fell 15 cents to
$107.10 per barrel at 0358 GMT, after settling 86 cents higher
on Friday. U.S. crude also slipped, to $92.45 per barrel.
The contract had settled $1.06 higher on Friday.
"Obama's comments act in favour of Iran and contribute to
more downside in oil markets given the potential inflow of
Iranian barrels to oil markets," said Chee Tat Tan, investment
analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
The highly anticipated U.S. jobs numbers on Friday showed a
rise of just 74,000 in December, the smallest increase since
"While the numbers were relatively disappointing, this will
help alleviate expectations about Fed tapering," said Tan.
Massive bond purchases by the Federal Reserve have boosted
liquidity and appetite for risky assets such as oil.
"All in all, I think the jobs data is slightly supportive
for oil prices," said Tan.
A deal between Iran and six major powers intended to pave
the way to a solution to a long standoff over Tehran's nuclear
ambitions will come into force on Jan. 20, the Iranian Foreign
Ministry and the European Union said on Sunday.
Sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme have kept
about 1 million barrels per day of oil off global markets, but
an agreement reached Nov. 24 last year raised hopes of a
long-term deal that could see Iran resuming full exports.
Obama urged the Congress not to impose additional sanctions
on Iran, saying that doing so risked undermining the Nov. 24
agreement, which aims to give the two sides six months to reach
a comprehensive deal.
However, Washington would be prepared to increase its
sanctions if Iran fails to abide by the agreement, Obama added.
In a deal that seemed to undermine Western sanctions against
the country, sources said Iran and Russia are negotiating an
oil-for-goods swap worth $1.5 billion a month that would enable
Iran to lift oil exports substantially.
More South Sudanese supply could also find its way to global
markets, after the country's army said it had regained a
rebel-held northern town, giving the government control of a
region where oil production had been halted by fighting in
Brent prices were supported by reports of fresh production
problems at the North Sea's Buzzard oilfield. Buzzard is the
largest of the fields that contribute to the Forties crude
blend, the most important of the North Sea crudes underpinning
the Brent crude benchmark.
In Libya, the tension between government forces and rebels
groups worsened after gunmen killed the country's deputy
industry minister, Hassan al-Drowi, on Saturday.
Libya is still plagued by violence and assassinations more
than two years after civil war ousted Muammar Gaddafi, which has
hurt oil output from its peak of 1.6 million bpd.
Libya's El Sharara field is currently producing 300,000
barrels per day (bpd) of oil compared to its peak output of
340,000 bpd, the country's oil minister said Sunday.
(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)