November 13, 2013 / 11:16 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 11-Oil rises $1 amid Libya supply outages

* Libyan situation “getting worse,” Eni boss tells BBC

* Brent-WTI spread hits widest point since April

* Uncertainty on Fed stimulus withdrawal curbs risk appetite

* Coming up: EIA inventory report 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT (Adds API data)

By Anna Louie Sussman

NEW YORK, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Oil futures on both sides of the Atlantic rose more than $1 per barrel on Wednesday as support from Libyan supply outages offset forecasts for increases in U.S. stockpiles.

Libyan exports remain disrupted by strikes and protests, and the head of Italian oil company Eni SpA said the situation was getting worse.

“The market has turned its focus on more protests in Libya and production not coming back online, and that’s surfacing in short covering in WTI,” said Gene McGillian, analyst with Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Uncertainty about how soon the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin to scale back its monetary stimulus also prompted traders who were short U.S. oil to buy contracts and cover positions.

Brent crude rose $1.31 a barrel to settle at $107.12, after earlier reaching $107.45. U.S. crude rose 84 cents to $93.88. The U.S. contract fell more than $2 a barrel Tuesday to a 4-1/2-month low.

U.S. crude trailed Brent in morning trading, allowing the spread to widen to $14.03 at one point, its widest since early April. It swung back to $12.54 as traders unwound the spread, before settling at $13.24.

The crude oil complex also drew support from U.S. gasoline futures, which were up nearly 2 percent, after two cargoes of gasoline slated for the New York harbor were reportedly diverted to Florida, supporting the Harbor RBOB differential and futures prices.

U.S. gasoline futures settled up 1.5 percent at $2.628.

Having moved above $107, Brent’s next resistance point is $107.38 and then the 200-day moving average at $107.92, said Olivier Jakob, an analyst at Petromatrix.

European equities were lower, mirroring losses in Asia, pressured by concern the Fed might roll back its stimulative asset-buying program as soon as next month. The stimulus has supported commodities and other risk assets.

Lack of success in weekend talks on Iran’s nuclear work reduced the chance of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude returning soon to the market, supporting Brent.

In Libya, Italian energy company Eni has been producing 60 percent of what it should have been since the start of the year, the chief executive told the BBC on Wednesday.

“It’s very much out of control ... It’s getting worse ... but I have reasons to be an optimist on the future,” Eni chief executive Paolo Scaroni said in an interview with the BBC program Hard Talk.

Forecasts for an increase in U.S. crude stocks limited the rally. Data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute, released after the session’s close, showed that U.S. crude stocks rose by 599,000 barrels overall, with an increase of 1.7 million barrels at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub.

Distillate stocks rose last week while gasoline inventories declined, the API data showed. Analysts expect a 1 million barrel increase in crude oil stocks and a 700,000 barrel draw in gasoline stocks in Thursday’s more closely-watched U.S. Energy Information Administration report. (Additional reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Alex Lawler; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Bob Burgdorfer, Andre Grenon and Andrew Hay)

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