* Brent set for longest losing streak since Oct 2012
* Coming up: weekly U.S. API inventory data at 2030 GMT
(Updates prices to settlement, adds latest inventory forecasts)
By Anna Louie Sussman
NEW YORK, July 8 Brent crude slid more than $1 a
barrel on Tuesday, its seventh straight decline, hitting a
one-month low below $109 as Libyan oil exports looked likely to
rise and fears eased of supply disruption in Iraq.
Brent has shed more than 5 percent since last month, when
the Iraq crisis drove prices to a nine-month high of $115.71.
Libya's 340,000 barrel per day (bpd) El Sharara oilfield has
resumed operations after a four-month strike, a spokesman for
state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) said. This may free more oil
for export after last week's port deal with rebels.
"The Libyan situation seems real this time around, and the
market is at least giving it the benefit of the doubt that we
will see more oil," said John Kilduff, a partner at Again
Capital LLC in New York.
Brent crude for August delivery fell by $1.30 to
$108.94 a barrel, after touching a session low of $108.69.
The U.S. benchmark crude slipped 13 cents to $103.40
in an eighth straight day of declines.
Brent's premium over U.S. crude CL-LCO1=R narrowed by more
than $1 to $5.54, going below $6 for the first time since
Fears about oil exports from Iraq also eased, said Olivier
Jakob, an analyst at Petromatrix in Zug, Switzerland.
"The oil fields in the south are not in direct danger, and
the oil fields in the north and Kurdistan are also not in
danger," Jakob said.
Iraq's new parliament has brought forward the date of its
next session to July 13.
The Brent future contracts for delivery in September moved
to a small premium over contracts for delivery next month, a
condition known as "contango," which traders said was an
indication of weak demand.
In Libya, preparations were under way to reopen two major
oil ports in the east. Shut by protests almost a year ago, the
Ras Lanuf and Es Sider ports make up more than a third of the
OPEC producer's export capacity.
BNP Paribas analysts noted that questions remained about how
much maintenance would be needed at oilfields and pipelines.
On Monday, a NOC spokesman said Libya's oil output was at
326,000 barrels per day, well below its post-civil war high near
1.4 million bpd.
Weekly oil inventory data from the United States is due on
Tuesday and Wednesday. U.S. commercial crude and gasoline
inventories were forecast to have dropped in the week to July 4,
a preliminary Reuters survey of five analysts showed. Distillate
stockpiles were expected to have risen.
West African crude differentials were at two-year lows with
40 out of 65 cargoes of Nigerian oil still available for
purchase in the current program.
(Additional reporting by David Sheppard and Rowena Caine in
London and Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy
and David Gregorio)