* Libya's El Feel oilfield shut again by protesters
* 12 dead in clashes in Libya's Benghazi
* Russia offers Ukraine natgas discount
* Washington warns Russia of further sanctions over Ukraine
* U.S. consumer sentiment falls in May
(Adds CFTC data)
By Elizabeth Dilts
NEW YORK, May 16 Brent crude oil rose on Friday
to end nearly 2 percent higher on the week, boosted by concerns
over output in Libya, where recently opened fields were closed
again and clashes erupted in the east.
Protesters again shut Libya's El Feel oilfield and the El
Sharara field remained closed, an official at the National Oil
Corporation said on Friday. Output edged down to about 200,000
barrels per day (bpd), far less than the 1.4 million bpd pumped
In the east, Libyan irregular forces clashed with Islamist
militias in Benghazi, killing at least 12.
"We have to take Libyan reports that these oilfields are
back up with a grain of salt because it's still very uncertain
there," said Joseph Posillico, senior vice president of energy
derivatives at Jefferies Bache in New York. "Some of that is
Brent crude settled 66 cents higher at $109.75 a
barrel, ending the week 1.8 percent higher.
U.S. crude settled 52 cents higher, or 0.51 percent,
at $102.02 a barrel, or 2 percent higher than last week.
The U.S. benchmark spent the entire week above the 50-day
moving average of $100.99 but found resistance at $102.65,
trading in a new range that is closely linked to gasoline
prices, analysts said.
"What we have is a stall at $102.60; the market stopped
there, it didn't lower much," said Walter Zimmermann, chief
technical analyst at United-ICAP. "The fate of U.S. crude to the
upside is in the hands of gasoline. When we look at RBOB, we see
a market that is much closer to being a sell than to be a buy."
U.S. gasoline rose nearly 3 percent over last week,
and settled about a penny higher at $2.9735 a gallon.
Money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and
options positions in the week to May 13, the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission said. In the week to May 6, the
speculator group cut net long positions.
The conflict in Ukraine remained a background support as
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia it faced
broader sanctions if it interferes in Ukraine's presidential
elections on May 25.
Meanwhile, Russia offered Ukraine a discount on its June
natural gas supply if it paid $2.2 billion of the $3.5 billion
debt Moscow says Kiev owes as of April 1.
In the United States, economic data offered contrasting
pictures for growth in the world's largest oil consumer.
A gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment fell in May as a gloomy
view on income growth clouded an otherwise positive economic
outlook, a preliminary reading of the Thomson Reuters/University
of Michigan survey showed.
U.S. housing starts jumped in April and building permits hit
their highest in nearly six years.
Investors kept an eye on talks due to end Friday over
Tehran's nuclear program. A senior U.S. official said Iran and
six world powers were making little progress, fanning doubt
about prospects for a breakthrough by a self-imposed July
Iran's oil exports averaged 1.11 million bpd in April, the
second monthly drop in a row, the Paris-based International
Energy Agency said, and close to the 1 million bpd allowed under
(Additional reporting by Peg Mackey in New York and Keith
Wallis in Singapore; Editing by William Hardy, David Evans, G
Crosse, David Gregorio and James Dalgleish)