November 14, 2014 / 6:21 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 2-Brent stays near 4-year low above $77 on glut, OPEC worries

* Brent on track for longest-ever run of weekly losses

* Benchmark down nearly 7 percent this week

* Volatility to continue ahead of Nov. 27 OPEC meeting - analyst (Updates prices)

By Keith Wallis

SINGAPORE, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Brent crude held near a four-year low just above $77 a barrel on Friday amid concerns over excess supply and uncertainty over whether OPEC would cut output at a meeting in two weeks.

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi appeared to rule out a cut in output but other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are pushing for action to tackle the fall in prices when they meet in Vienna on Nov. 27. Oil prices have plunged 30 per cent since June.

Brent has dropped for eight weeks in a row, its longest weekly losing streak since records began in 1988, based on Reuters data. It has lost nearly 7 percent so far this week.

“We’ve got a period of very heightened volatility in the lead-up to the Nov. 27 OPEC meeting,” said Mark Keenan, head of commodities research in Asia at Societe Generale in Singapore.

Brent futures dropped 45 cents to $77.04 a barrel as of 0735 GMT. The December contract expired on Thursday, settling down $2.46 at $77.92 after touching an intraday low of $77.83, lowest since September 2010.

U.S. crude for December delivery fell 81 cents to $73.40 a barrel after closing down $2.97, or almost 4 percent, on Thursday.

“Prices are in freefall. The market is saying OPEC won’t do anything,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Sydney’s Ayers Alliance. “But nobody is talking about winter and I think that will be the turning point. A few cold snaps will be an opportunity for people to get in and hedge.”

Adding to oil glut worries, crude stocks at the key Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub climbed by a larger-than-expected 1.7 million barrels last week, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration said.

But U.S. crude stockpiles fell 1.7 million barrels in the week to Nov. 7, against analysts’ expectations of a 750,000 barrel build in inventories, the EIA said.

The market was also keeping an eye on geopolitical issues.

The 120,000 barrel-a-day Hariga oil port in eastern Libya has reopened after state security guards ended a protest over unpaid wages, a port source said on Thursday, but the El Sharara oil field remains shut. (Editing by Alan Raybould, Himani Sarkar and Biju Dwarakanath)

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