Oil prices were under pressure on Monday as a rebound in Libyan oil output at the weekend weighed against upbeat economic data from Asia that pointed to strong energy demand from the region.
Benchmark Brent futures LCOc1 eased by 8 cents to $53.45 a barrel by 1356 GMT (9:56 a.m. ET). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 were down 10 cents at $50.50 a barrel.
Libya’s Sharara oil field, the country’s largest, resumed production on Sunday after a week-long disruption. State-owned NOC lifted force majeure on loadings of Sharara crude on Monday, sources told Reuters.
The field was producing around 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Monday and about 220,000 bpd prior to the March 27 shutdown.
“The main development over the weekend is the restart of Sharara,” managing director of PetroMatrix Olivier Jakob said.
Uncertainty about how Libyan output would fare in the months ahead added short-term volatility to oil prices, he said. “(It) is a swing factor that can make it move both ways if one looks at the balances for the second half of the year.” he added.