* Pro-Russia rebels call victory in East Ukraine vote
* Top exporter Saudi Arabia would supply more oil if needed
* Libya's oilfields, pipelines to reopen later Monday
* Coming up: API data Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT)
(Adds settlement prices and analyst comments)
By Elizabeth Dilts
NEW YORK, May 12 Crude oil futures rose on
Monday as tensions in Ukraine prompted the European Union to
widen sanctions, while Russia reiterated that it could cut off
Kiev's natural gas supplies.
Russia's state-owned Gazprom said that unless Kiev
pre-paid for the next month's natural gas deliveries by June 2,
it would disrupt or reduce supplies.
Saudi Arabia said it would step in to cover any potential
shortage of oil that could result from the tension between
Russia and Ukraine, which reassured investors and capped gains
Pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine called for their region
to become part of Russia on Monday after the groups said a
referendum on self rule held one day earlier had found
"Saudi Arabia is sending the signal that if Russia does
decide to cut off the gas supply, we may actually get a flood of
supply," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in
Chicago. "On the oil front, it may be bearish because we will
probably see a lot of oil released."
In addition to potential supply increases from Saudi Arabia,
Libyan officials said they planned to reopen late on Monday
western oilfields and pipelines that had been blockaded by
protesters. The oilfields could raise Libyan output by 500,000
barrels per day.
Increased Libyan oil exports would reduce Europe's exposure
to the crisis in Ukraine and could mean diplomats lower the bar
for sanctions on Russia, analysts said.
The European Union expanded sanctions against Russia,
targeting two Crimean companies and 13 people in its first
attempt to aim at corporations rather than
Brent crude settled 52 cents higher at $108.41 a
barrel, while U.S. crude gained 60 cents to $100.59 a
U.S. crude futures remain in a trading range between $98 and
$102 per barrel with expectations for a further draw at the
Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point providing support for the
"The increased geopolitical risk has given (U.S. crude) a
little support, but really it's around $100 and looking for its
next driver," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy
in Stamford, Connecticut.
Investors kept an eye out for industrial production and
retail sales data expected from China on Tuesday.
On Friday, China pledged to move ahead with a broad range of
reforms to the country's capital markets in a bid to increase
transparency, encourage more efficient capital allocation and
increase openness to foreign investment.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran ended a three-hour
meeting without announcing any new action to help allay concern
about Tehran's atomic activities, leaving it unclear whether
headway was achieved.
Any sign of progress towards a final resolution to the
West's dispute with Tehran would pressure oil prices on
anticipation of a ramp-up in Iranian oil exports.
(Additional reporting by Peg Mackey in London and Keith Wallis
in Singapore; Editing by Keiron Henderson, David Evans,
Marguerita Choy, Bernadette Baum and Peter Galloway)