Oil mixed in Asia as traders eye Libya crisis

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Singapore, Aug 23: Crude prices see-sawed in Asian trade today (Aug 23) as traders monitored the crisis in Libya with rebels claiming victory but Muammar Gaddafi's sons saying the strongman remains in power, analysts said.

At 0115 GMT, Brent North Sea crude for October delivery was down two cents at USD 108.34 a barrel after having fallen by as much as 18 cents in earlier trades.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for October delivery was 27 cents higher at USD 84.69 a barrel.

"Brent fell on hopes that Libyan oil production would restart soon, with the end to the country's civil war looming," said Ker Chung Yang, an investment analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Meanwhile, analysts cautioned it could take Libya two years to restore oil production to pre-revolt levels and that disputes over who would hold power in any post-Gaddafi regime could also delay rebuilding economy.

The lack of any strong institutions was another factor that could impede the country's road back to resuming full-scale crude production, they said.

"I don't think they can resume production immediately. It might take place in three or four months but to go back to the level they used to produce, it may take two years," Shukri Ghanem, the exiled former Libyan oil minister, told energy news specialist Platts on Monday.

Before the uprising began in February, Libya produced as much as 1.6 million barrels per day and exported 1.3 million bpd, much of it light crude valued by Europe's refiners, which have struggled to replace it. 

AFP

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