Brent Crude Finishes Lower; Libyan Supply In Sight


NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Oil prices seesawed on Monday, ending the session slightly lower, as traders weighed reports of production resuming at a Libyan oilfield against new threats to shipments from a port controlled by protesters.

Brent and U.S. crude dipped on a day of mixed messages, including a shipping drama off Libya's shore and a deep freeze across the United States that threatens to disrupt oil production but also curtail demand.

In an apparent escalation of the months-long civil unrest in Libya, the country's armed forces warned they would not allow any oil tanker to load at ports seized by protesters. The Libyan Navy had blocked a Maltese-flagged vessel from trying to reach a dock and opened fire as it approached the port of Es Sider, officials said.

The price volatility followed Brent's biggest weekly fall in six months after the restart of the El Sharara oilfield following a two-month blockade by protesters.

The restart of the 340,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) field will more than double Libyan crude production, which had fallen to 250,000 bpd from 1.4 million bpd in July.

"We're still seeing most of the geopolitical risk hitting Brent, whether it be Libya or Iraq," said Phil Flynn, analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago.

On Monday, Iraq's prime minister urged people in the besieged city of Falluja to drive out al Qaeda-linked insurgents to pre-empt a military offensive that officials said could be launched within days.


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