Oil prices stage modest rebound

29th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

World oil prices edged higher on Tuesday as international powers gathered in London to map out the future of Libya, a key exporter of crude before the current conflict.

In London late afternoon trade, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in May rose 74 cents to $115.54 a barrel.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for May, added 69 cents to $104.67.

"In Libya, rebels have regained control of key oil ports and advanced against government forces, easing some concerns about the political unrest across the Middle East and North Africa," said Sucden analyst Myrto Sokou.

Meanwhile in London, thirty-seven countries, including seven Arab states plus the heads of the United Nations and NATO, gathered as Moamer Kadhafi urged Western nations to end their UN-backed offensive against his country.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that although the military action was having an effect in protecting civilians, the western city of Misrata was still "continuing to suffer murderous attacks" from pro-Kadhafi forces.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added that the allied strikes on Libya would go on until Kadhafi meets the terms of a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire and authorising a no-fly zone to protect civilians.

Oil prices had fallen on Monday after Libyan rebels said that they have a deal with Qatar to resume oil exports that have been nearly shut down by the fighting.

"Prices sold off on Monday as traders contemplated the possibilities of renewed Libyan oil exports, with opposition leaders in that country promising to build on weekend successes," said analysts at consultancy Cameron Hanover.

Qatar on Monday became the second country after France to recognize Libya's rebel council, the Provisional Transitional National Council, as the "sole legitimate representative" of Libya.

The council, a 31-member body representing major cities and towns in the north African country, said Sunday that rebel-held eastern Libya was already producing crude oil.

A PTNC official announced the council had signed a contract for Qatar to market the crude, and that exports were expected to start in "less than a week."

"We are producing about 100,000 to 130,000 barrels a day -- we can easily up that to about 300,000 a day," Ali Tarhoni, the rebel representative responsible for economy, finance and oil, told a news conference.

Libya produced 1.69 million barrels of oil per day before the unrest, but that has since virtually ground to a halt.


© 2011 AFP

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