* Brent premium to WTI rises to $19
* Gas oil up 3.5 pct on European weather
* Coming up: API oil data 4:30 p.m. EST Tuesday
(Recasts, updates with settlement prices)
By Robert Gibbons
NEW YORK, Feb 6 Brent oil rose for a fifth
straight session on Monday to settle at a six-month high as cold
weather in Europe boosted heating fuel demand and pushed the
crude's premium to U.S. oil to the highest since November.
European gasoil led gains across the oil complex,
rising more than 3.5 percent as bitter weather killed another 33
people in Europe..
Italy announced it would allow electricity providers to fire
up oil-fueled generators to limit natural gas after six-straight
days of reduced supplies from Russia.
Additional support for Brent came amid supply concerns from
OPEC members Iran and Nigeria.
"The cold weather is giving us a lift in the products and
that is feeding through to Brent," said Rob Montefusco, a trader
at Sucden Financial in London. "Also, any sort of trouble in the
Middle East is likely to keep Brent well bid."
U.S crude fell, however, dragged down by concerns about weak
consumption and rising inventories that increased the contract's
discount to Brent CL-LCO1=R to more than $19 a barrel from
more than $2, the largest discount since November.
Traders said the premium could blow out levels eclipsing
those seen last year over $28 a barrel as Midwest refinery
turnarounds and rising pipeline flows boost inventories in the
region, home to the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point to the New
York Mercantile Exchange's oil futures contract.
Brent March crude rose $1.35 to settle at $115.93 a
barrel, highest close since Aug. 2. Monday's trade ranged from
$113.65 to $116.22. The $116.22 was the highest since $116.48
intraday on Nov. 8.
U.S. March crude fell 93 cents to settle at $96.91 a
barrel, having slumped as low as $96.38.
Heating oil prices traded up nearly 2.3 percent in late
activity, despite forecasts that U.S. total heating demand would
run about 14.5 percent below normal and heating oil demand would
be 20.5 percent below normal.
Trading volumes were heavy, with Brent volume about 22
percent above the 30-day moving average and U.S. crude about 18
percent over that average.
The euro weakened against the dollar after the failure of
Greek coalition parties to approve the terms of a new bailout
package rekindled worries about a chaotic default.
The dollar index edged up and a stronger U.S.
currency can pressure dollar-denominated oil by making the
commodity more expensive for consumers using other currencies.
THREATS TO SUPPLY
Traders also eyed developments in the Middle East and
Nigeria, where a police station was the site of the latest
attack by suspected Islamist militants.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards deputy commander said on Sunday
that Tehran would target any country used as a launching pad for
attacks against its soil. Iran's supreme leader last week
threatened reprisals for the West's ban on Iranian oil exports
in the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.
China, the largest consumer of Iranian crude, will halve its
crude oil imports from Iran in March versus year-ago levels as a
dispute over payments and prices stretches into a third month,
oil industry sources involved in the deals said.
Asia's imports of West African crude are at record highs as
sanctions on Iran reduce supplies, a Reuters survey of West
African flows suggest.
In Syria an explosion ripped through an oil pipeline feeding
a main refinery in the city of Homs, the second in a week to hit
(Additional reporting by Gene Ramos in New York, Claire
Milhench in London and Francis Kan in Singapore. Editing by Bob