* Libyan prime minister seized and then freed
* Israeli tweet on Yom Kippur war spooks traders
* No CFTC data on Friday due to government shutdown
(New throughout; updates to settlement prices.)
By Jeanine Prezioso
NEW YORK, Oct 10 Brent oil prices jumped close
to $3 per barrel and ended with their largest gain in more than
a month on Thursday on growing hope for a deal to extend funding
of the U.S. government, and on concerns about supplies from
Libya and the Middle East.
Brent prices gained double that of U.S. oil prices. Traders
and brokers reported seeing a large selloff in the spread
between Brent, the global benchmark, and the U.S. oil futures
contract, which widened the prices between them to the most in
Oil rose initially on news that Libyan Prime Minister Ali
Zeidan was captured and held for several hours by a former rebel
militia, prompting concerns of supply disruptions. Later in the
morning, a Twitter post commemorating the Yom Kippur war spooked
traders, who initially mistook it as news of a serious
escalation in Middle East violence.
"The rumour seems to have got stuff going, plus there's a
huge seller of the arb," said one broker.
The spread CL-LCO1=R had widened to as much as $8.98 per
barrel to its widest since Sept. 2 and settled at $8.79, its
widest settlement since early June.
Brent crude oil gained steadily across the session,
but soared by as much as $2.88 per barrel after the Twitter post
fanned through the market. The contract settled $2.74 per barrel
higher at $111.80, after trading as high as $111.94. It was the
largest one-day gain for Brent since Aug. 27.
U.S. crude settled $1.40 per barrel higher at $103.01
after trading as high as $103.57.
U.S. gasoline futures followed the rest of the
complex higher and settled 2.9 percent higher, the largest gain
in three weeks, at $2.6981 per gallon.
SHUTDOWN AND MIDEAST JITTERS
U.S. House of Representatives Republicans plan to offer
President Barack Obama a short-term increase in the federal debt
limit if he agrees to negotiate with Republicans on matters,
including funding to reopen the government, which has remained
in partial shutdown since last week.
U.S. stock markets were higher on news an agreement might be
reached, but oil market watchers were sceptical.
The shutdown has closed key government offices, prevented
the release of economic data and is overall expected to weigh on
the U.S. economy and demand for oil in the world's largest oil
consumer, brokers and analysts said.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration does not expect
to publish its weekly oil inventory data next week. The
government agency has said it had funds to continue operations
through Oct. 11.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission will not
publish its weekly Commitment of Traders report due out on
"It's going to be interesting to note what traders do
without the data," said Gene McGillian, an analyst with
Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. "Uncertainty
generally doesn't produce rising prices."
Oil traders were also on alert for signs of further
disruption in supplies from the Middle East and Africa.
Libya's oil output recently recovered to 700,000 barrels per
day after falling at mid-year to its lowest since the country's
2011 civil war after a combination of strikes, militias and
political activists blocked the majority of Libya's oilfields
and ports in late July.
(Additional reporting by Robert Gibbons in New York and
Alexander Winning in London and Jacob Gronholt-Pederson in
Sinapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy, Jonathan Leff, Phil
Berlowitz and Andre Grenon)