* Libyan oil exports near lowest since 2011 civil war
* Investors fear Egypt unrest could spread, affect supply
* Goldman Sachs sees Brent rising to around $115 near term
* Coming up: API data Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT
* Coming Up: EIA data, Fed policy minutes on Wednesday
(Adds details, updates to settlement prices.)
By Jeanine Prezioso
NEW YORK, Aug 19 Oil prices ended the day
slightly lower in lackluster trading on Monday as light
profit-taking pressured prices but unrest in Egypt and the loss
of Libyan oil exports put a floor under them.
Brent crude oil futures for October delivery settled
50 cents lower at $109.90 per barrel after trading as high as
$111. Brent rose to a four-month high of $111.53 on Aug. 15.
Brent pressured oil products such as gasoline and ultra-low
sulfur diesel lower late in the session, brokers said.
U.S. gasoline futures settled 3.4 cents lower at
$2.93 a gallon. U.S. heating oil futures ended more than
one cent lower at $3.07.
U.S. crude oil futures for September settled 36 cents
lower at $107.10 per barrel. The September contract expires at
the end of trading on Tuesday. October oil futures ended
the day 43 cents lower at $106.86.
Traders were taking a "wait-and-see" approach ahead of the
September contract expiration, said Andy Lebow, vice president
at Jefferies Bache.
Traders were also paying attention to the spread between
September and October futures CLU3-V3 as an indicator of
whether the market thinks inventories have been drawn down at
the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point for the U.S. oil futures
"The spread's been under a lot of pressure," Lebow said.
U.S. commercial crude inventories likely fell last week by
1.4 million barrels, an initial poll of Reuters analysts showed,
ahead of the release of weekly data.
Industry group API is set to release its stockpile report on
Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT). The U.S. Energy Information
Administration issues its data on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EDT
MIDDLE EAST UNREST
Libya's oil production and exports have been crippled by
violence and strikes, pushing exports to the lowest since the
2011 civil war, although one of the country's smaller ports was
reported to have reopened on Monday.
At least 850 people have died in Egypt since Wednesday in
clashes pitting the followers of deposed Islamist President
Mohamed Mursi against the army-backed government.
Egypt is not a major oil producer, but investors worry that
unrest there could spread throughout the Middle East, which
pumps more than a third of the world's oil.
Egypt is home to the Suez Canal and the Suez-Mediterranean
(Sumed) pipeline, which together carry around 4.5 million
barrels per day (bpd) of oil from the Red Sea.
The Egyptian army has said it will guarantee the safety of
the Suez Canal and the Sumed pipeline, but any disruption to
supplies could have a dramatic impact on the oil market.
Goldman Sachs said on Monday it expected tighter oil markets
to propel Brent to $115 "in the very near term".
Easing some supply fears, crude flows resumed through a
pipeline from Iraq's Kirkuk oil fields to Turkey's Mediterranean
port of Ceyhan, Iraqi oil officials said on Sunday.
Investors remain cautious as they await more clues on when
the U.S. Federal Reserve will start scaling back its economic
stimulus program, which has helped bolster asset prices such as
oil over the last three years.
Minutes on Wednesday from the Fed's last policy meeting will
provide some clues on when it will start reducing stimulus,
which could boost the dollar.
Fears of supply disruption eased in the United States with
BP Plc saying on Sunday it could start returning offshore
workers to its deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas facilities
after a tropical storm had dissipated.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it shut units at its
joint-venture 600,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Motiva refinery in
Port Arthur, Texas, on Saturday following a fire.
(Additional reporting by Christopher Johnson in London and
Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; Editing by Keiron Henderson,
John Wallace and Peter Galloway)