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Oil near $113 as damaged fields shut Libya output

BY ALEX KENNEDY (Associated Press)
Originally Published: Sunday, April 24, 2011
Updated: Sunday, April 24, 2011

SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices rose to near $113 a barrel Monday in Asia after Libyan rebels said they won’t produce crude for at least a month as they repair fields damaged in fighting.

Benchmark crude for June delivery was up 32 cents at $112.61 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil markets were closed Friday for the Easter holiday. The June contract last settled up 84 cents at $112.29 on Thursday.

In London, Brent crude for June delivery was up 16 cents to $124.15 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Fighting between forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi and rebels has shutdown almost all of the OPEC nation’s 1.6 million barrels a day of oil output and contributed to a 34 percent gain in crude prices since mid-February.

Rebels said Sunday that they will need at least four weeks to fix equipment at the key Messla and Sarir oil fields in the rebel-controlled east.

Rising crude prices have pushed gasoline above $4 a gallon in some U.S. states. On Saturday, President Barack Obama said the U.S. must develop alternatives to fossil fuel and renewed calls to end $4 billion in subsidies for oil and gas companies.

Traders are also closely watching this week for comments by the Federal Reserve at its Wednesday meeting and the latest U.S. gross domestic product figures scheduled to be released Thursday.

Last week, signs of growing oil consumption in China and an unexpected drop in U.S. crude supplies helped lift prices to near two and a half year highs.

“We continue to note demand strength out of the emerging economies and a gradual tightening in U.S. petroleum balances,” Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. “We expect a run at the $114 level (this week) with the market ultimately pushing up to around the $119 area within about one month.”

In other Nymex trading in May contracts, heating oil rose 1.3 cents to $3.21 a gallon and gasoline added 1.3 cents to $3.32 a gallon. Natural gas futures were up 0.7 cents at $4.42 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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