Brent Rises On Libya, Pulls US Oil Up Despite Stocks


NEW YORK, May 20 (Reuters) - Brent rose modestly on Tuesday supported by instability in Libya, pulling U.S. oil for July delivery higher in spite of expectations for an increase in domestic stockpiles.

The El Feel and El Shahara oilfields in western Libya were still shut more than a week after the government said protests there were over, an official said, and output was flat at 210,000 barrels a day.

Violence among rival militias and an attack on parliament on Sunday by armed men claiming loyalty to retired Major General Khalifa Haftar led French oil major Total SA to cut its presence in Tripoli and Algerian state energy company Sonatrach began evacuating workers.

The movement by Haftar may signal an attempt to draw up a broader anti-Islamist front that risks a wider battle in the North African state, which is trying to boost oil exports crucial to the economy.

U.S. commercial crude stockpiles likely surged to their highest in more than 20 years, a Reuters poll found.

Brent crude settled 32 cents higher at $109.69 a barrel. U.S. crude for June delivery, which expired Tuesday, settled 17 cents lower at $102.44, after hitting its highest price in nearly one month on Monday. U.S. crude for July delivery settled 22 cents up at $102.33 a barrel.

"I think we are worried about Libya, but it seems that the market wasn't ever convinced it would be a reliable supplier and that's why you're not seeing any major follow through moves higher after the initial spike up on Monday," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.


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