NEW YORK, Dec 10 (Reuters) - U.S. crude rose on Tuesday as market participants digested news of progress toward opening a major pipeline to move oil from the U.S. Midwest to the Gulf, helping drain crude from Cushing, Oklahoma, the pricing point for the futures contract.
The news presaged further drawdowns in overall U.S. crude oil inventories for a second straight week. A Reuters poll estimated the drawdown at 3 million barrels in the week to Dec. 6 following the previous week's drain of 5.6 million barrels.
Brent traded largely flat on Tuesday after losing nearly $1 on reports of a possible end to the months-long blockade of east Libyan oil terminals.
The prospects of increased supply of Brent and less landlocked U.S. crude helped narrow the spread between the two to a month low of $10.48 per barrel earlier in the session.
"The Brent-WTI spread has gone from below $10 to above $19 and now around $10 in the last five weeks, and now maybe we'll get Libyan production back in excess of one million barrels," said Gene McGillian, an analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
"Now I think it's going to come down to what kind of inventory report we see."
Brent for January fell 1 cent to settle at $109.38 a barrel, after swinging between $108.55 and $110.45 during the session. Brent dropped 2 percent on Monday, its biggest loss in five weeks.
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