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WTI Crude Narrows Discount to Brent as Libya Increases Output

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed near a six-week high, narrowing the discount to Brent as Libya worked to restore supplies.

Prices were little changed after four consecutive weekly gains. Libya increased output after protests at the Sharara field ended, according to National Oil Corp. Below-normal temperatures in the lower 48 states will give way to more seasonal readings from Feb. 17 through Feb. 21, according to forecasters including Commodity Weather Group LLC.

“Crude is under pressure from rising volumes from Libya,” said Addison Armstrong, director of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “That’s what’s weighing things down. We are having a little profit-taking after last week’s strong push higher.”

WTI for March delivery rose 13 cents to $100.01 a barrel at 9:31 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract reached $100.46, the highest intraday price since Dec. 27. The volume of all futures was 13 percent above the 100-day average.

Brent for March settlement fell 18 cents to $109.39 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 5.9 percent above the 100-day average. It was at a premium of $9.38 a barrel to West Texas Intermediate versus $9.69 on Feb. 7.

Libya, holder of Africa’s largest reserves, is pumping about 600,000 barrels a day, and exporting 440,000 barrels of this, Mohamed Elharari, a spokesman for state-run National Oil Corp., said by phone from Tripoli. Output from the second- largest oil field, Sharara, expanded to 327,000 after protesters re-opened a pipeline valve near Zintan, he said.

Production in the member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was between 450,000 and 500,000 barrels on Feb. 6, according to the state oil company. Libya pumped 470,000 barrels a day in January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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