U.S. President Barack Obama said the international community would
not recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea on Tuesday, just one day
after major industrialized nations warned Moscow of tougher economic
sanctions if it goes beyond the seizure of the Baltic region.
Royal Dutch Shell declared force majeure on Nigeria's Forcados crude
exports, due to a pipeline leak caused by oil theft. In Libya,
production fell by roughly 80,000 barrels per day to about 150,000
bpd after a large oilfield was shut.
Weighing on U.S. oil prices, domestic commercial crude supplies were
expected to have risen by 6.3 million barrels according to the
industry group, the American Petroleum Institute.
That would make for the 10th straight weekly build, and more than
double the 2.7 million barrel build analysts predicted in a Reuters
poll. The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its
report on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT).
Brent crude rose just 18 cents to settle at $106.99. U.S. crude fell
41 cents to settle at $99.19 per barrel.
The closely watched and traded Brent-U.S. crude oil price spread
<CL-LCO1=R> widened by 59 cents to $7.80.
"The factors that are battling out are the threat of a supply
disruption out of Ukraine, Libya and Nigeria, and the fact that we
have weak fundamentals and will see a build tomorrow," said Gene
McGillian, an analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
[to top of second column]
Speculation that China will act to support its slowing economy and
robust consumer confidence numbers in the U.S. provided a floor for
But the reopening of the Houston Ship Channel pressured U.S. oil.
The channel is a critical waterway for oil shipments that had been
closed for four days, which forced at least one big refiner to
decrease output and gave a boost to U.S. oil prices.
U.S. crude stocks likely rose 2.7 million barrels on average last
week, a Reuters poll forecast. Gasoline inventories are expected to
have fallen 1.2 million barrels, and distillate inventories,
including heating oil and diesel fuel, are also expected to have
fallen 1.4 million barrels, the poll showed.
(Reporting by Alex Lawler and Keith Wallis;
editing by Keiron
Henderson, Diane Craft, Tom Brown and Chris Reese)
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