Oil Holds Below $44 as Libya, Nigeria Seen Adding to Oversupply

LAGOS, Capital Markets in Africa: Oil held below $44 a barrel amid speculation the global crude glut will expand as OPEC members Libya and Nigeria prepare to boost exports within weeks.

Futures fell as much as 0.6 percent in New York after losing 5.9 percent the previous two sessions. Libya’s state oil company on Wednesday lifted curbs on sales from three ports, potentially unlocking 300,000 barrels a day. Exxon Mobil Corp. was said to be ready to resume shipments of Nigeria’s biggest export grade. U.S. government data showed crude stockpiles fell 559,000 barrels last week, compared with a forecast gain in a Bloomberg survey.

Oil has fluctuated since rallying in August amid speculation the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia would agree on measures to stabilize the market. The glut will last into 2017, longer than previously thought as demand growth slows, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday. Rigs targeting crude in the U.S. have had the biggest return to activity since oil began falling two years ago and Kazakhstan’s giant Kashagan field is expected to start output this year, adding to the oversupply.

“Concerns on oversupply continue to persist,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at bank SEB AB in Oslo. “With a weak outlook from the IEA and the possibility for revived production in Libya and Nigeria, there is no need for more U.S. shale oil rigs back into the market.”

West Texas Intermediate for October delivery was at $43.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 14 cents, at 9:32 a.m. in London. The contract fell $1.32 to $43.58 on Wednesday, the lowest close since Sept. 1. Total volume traded was about 27 percent below the 100-day average.

Nigerian Output
Brent for November settlement was 2 cents lower at $45.83 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract dropped $1.25 to $45.85 on Wednesday. The global benchmark was at a premium of $1.81 to WTI for November.

For a story on where Goldman sees oil prices trading, click here.

Exxon has filled storage facilities at its Qua Iboe export terminal in Nigeria and is awaiting government clearance to resume shipments, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday. Royal Dutch Shell Plc is scheduled to restart about 200,000 barrels a day of flow within days.

Source: Bloomberg Business News

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