* Oil speculators raise WTI net long positions -CFTC
* U.S. crude rises for sixth straight week
* U.S. heating oil tumbles 8 cents
* China and India boost imports of Iranian crude
(Adds settlement prices, analysts' comments, CFTC data)
By Elizabeth Dilts
NEW YORK, Feb 21 Oil prices fell on Friday,
slightly eroding their sixth straight week of gains, as the
fierce U.S. winter weather that has supported heating fuel
demand gave way to milder temperatures, triggering a selloff in
Temperatures in the U.S. Northeast climbed into the 50s
degrees Fahrenheit range (above 10 degrees Celsius) after a
multi month cold snap reduced stockpiles of heating oil to the
lowest level in a decade.
New York ultra low sulfur diesel, or heating oil, futures
fell by more than 2 percent, or around 8 cents, to
$3.0992 per gallon.
"The markets pushed higher this week on the expectation of
increased fuel demands," said Gene McGillian, analyst at
Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. "But the market was
overextended and people rushed to take profits."
Domestic conflicts in Libya and South Sudan, as well as
escalating protests in Venezuela supported Brent earlier in the
week, but by Friday traders had priced in the supply risk,
Brent crude futures for April fell 45 cents to
settle at $109.85 a barrel, having hit a seven-week high of
$110.82 on Wednesday.
Brent was also weighed on by signs that Iran increased
January crude oil exports to China and India.
U.S. crude futures for April delivery fell 55 cents
to $102.20 after paring losses of more than $1 hit earlier in
the session. The U.S. benchmark rose for the sixth straight
Losses were limited by rallies on global equity markets,
which were up most of the day on Friday despite new data that
showed U.S. home resales fell to an 18-month low. [MKTS\GLOB]
Money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and
options positions to the highest on record in the week to Feb.
18, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on
Brent's premium to U.S. crude CL-LCO1=R settled at $7.65 a
barrel. It narrowed Thursday to as tight as $7.09, the lowest
point since Oct. 9, on a new pipeline that has drained supplies
from WTI's delivery point at Cushing, Oklahoma.
Crude oil supplies from several countries face constraints.
South Sudan's oil output has fallen by about a third to
around 170,000 barrels per day (bpd) as the capital of the main
oil-producing region has been divided by the army and rebel
Maintenance at Angola's Plutonio oilfield in March will also
cut supply by about 180,000 bpd.
Libya's oil output is just less than a quarter of its
pre-Arab Spring levels, languishing below 400,000 bpd.
(Additional reporting by David Sheppard and Christopher Johnson
in London and Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by David Evans,
Dale Hudson, Chris Reese, Marguerita Choy and Peter Galloway)