Oil down in Asia

Singapore, Feb 25 (AFP) Crude prices fell in Asiantrade today as supply fears eased with oil cartel OPECpromising to boost output to make up for any production lossin revolt-hit Libya, analysts said.

New York''s main contract, light sweet crude for Aprildelivery, dipped 40 cents to USD 96.88 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April was down47 cents to USD 110.89.

"The fact that Organisation of the Petroleum ExportingCountries (OPEC) and Saudi Arabia were willing to increase oilproduction, has lowered oil prices," said Ong Yi Ling,investment analyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Tuesday OPECwas prepared to meet any shortage of supplies due to unrest inthe Middle East and that its members had sufficient sparecapacity to do so.

The OPEC kingpin yesterday also reassured oilconsumers that the nation would boost production as well tomake up for any production lost in Libya, according to oilspecialist Platts.

Investors were also monitoring the situation inneighbouring Bahrain, where thousands of protesters werestaging a march in Manama and pressing an 11-day uprisingagainst the monarchy, Ong added.

"While Bahrain is not a major oil producer, it hasclose ties to Saudi Arabia, so it is important to thestrategic balance of power in the Middle East," Ong said.


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