Brent crude fell to its lowest intraday level in almost three weeks as rebels in eastern Libya said two oil ports they have held for a year, including the country’s biggest, are free to reopen. West Texas Intermediate slipped before U.S. supply data.
Futures declined as much as 0.7 percent in London to $111.54 a barrel. The ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are free to resume shipments, Ali Al-Hasy, spokesman of the self-declared Executive Office of Barqa region, said today. The restart of operations would expand Libya’s export capacity by 500,000 barrels a day and probably send Brent down to $110, Commerzbank AG said.
“Most of the big moves in the market we have seen this year have been on the back of news from Libya,” Jens Naervig Pedersen, an analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said by e-mail. “The market could be starting to focus more on the potential downside risks to the oil price.”
Brent for August settlement traded for $111.57 at 11:05 a.m. local time, down 72 cents. The premium of the front-month Brent contract to the second shrank to 7 cents a barrel, the least since April 15. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $6.69 to WTI on ICE, compared with $6.95 yesterday.
WTI for August delivery was at $104.90 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 44 cents. The contract slid to $105.34 yesterday, the lowest close since June 11. The volume of all futures traded was about 24 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. Prices have gained 6.6 percent this year.