SINGAPORE- Oil prices fell in Asia Wednesday following the return of disrupted Libyan production into an already well-stocked global market and as dealers await the latest US inventory report, analysts said.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery eased one cent to $91.55 while Brent crude for November fell 32 cents to $96.53 in late-morning trade.
Prices had headed upwards this week after an upbeat manufacturing gauge from China and news that US-led forces had started targeting jihadist militants in crude producer Syria.
However, on Singapore’s United Overseas Bank said the restarting of production in Libya’s biggest oil field “added to oversupply woes in a flush market”.
Production at Sharara, Libya’s largest oil field, restarted Monday after its closure last week, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The 340,000 barrels-per-day capacity Sharara field was shut last week due to intense fighting near the vicinity of the export terminal and refinery linked to it.
The week-long disruption put a pause to returning supplies in Libya, a member of the OPEC cartel, after a nearly year-long blockade by rebels of oil terminals.
The country remains mired in political turmoil due to inter-militia fighting.
A Libyan government spokesman on September 11 said the North African state expects production to reach 1.5 million barrels per day from more than 700,000 barrels currently.
Dealers are awaiting the latest US crude stockpiles report to be released later Wednesday for clues about demand in the world’s top crude consumer.
Crude reserves are expected to have risen by 500,000 barrels on average in the week to September 19, according to analysts polled by the Wall Street Journal.
Gasoline stockpiles are expected to fall by 200,000 barrels, while stocks of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, are expected to rise by 300,000.