Brent Rises on Continued Libya Outage

Oil Prices Up on Weak US Crude Inventory

US crude CLc1 was down 30 cents at $73.50.

That double whammy is prompting Asian refiners to move swiftly, with South Korea leading the way.

That came after an outage at a major Canadian oil sands facility cut regional supply. -China tit-for-tat on trade.

Looming larger over markets is the U.S./China trade dispute. "U.S. sellers would have to find alternative buyers".

US crude output stayed flat at 10.9 million barrels per day (bpd).

The outage at the 360,000 barrels per day (bpd) Syncrude facility in Canada has contributed to a sharp reduction in the discount for US crude versus Brent crude over the past month.

USA energy companies last week increased the number of rigs drilling for oil by five to 863, up 100 year-on-year, General Electric Co's (GE.N) Baker Hughes energy services firm said in a report on Friday.

So far, WTI's relative resiliency is not something that would please US president Donald Trump, who in tearing up the nuclear deal with Iran and reimposing sanctions against the Islamic republic, is betting that Saudi Arabia and other countries will not only make up for the shortfall in Iranian crude exports but also flood the market with enough product to reduce gas prices at the American pump.

While no date has been set, industry participants expect the tariff to be levied.

Egypt jails tourist for Facebook post
Mazbouh fiercely criticized the way she had been treated, claiming she was "harassed by taxi drivers and men in the street". Mona's lawyer Imad Kamal said that ten years ago she underwent brain surgery, then it's hard for her to cope with anger.

As part of the retaliatory response, Beijing has threatened a 25% tariff on United States crude imports, although it has not specified an introduction date.

An executive from China's Dongming Petrochemical Group said he expected Beijing to soon impose the tariff on US oil imports.

He added that his refinery had canceled USA crude imports and would switch to Middle East or West African supplies instead. The report said Hojjat al-Islam Mojtaba Zolnour, a hardline member of Iran's parliament, had made the allegation in an interview with a local newspaper.

China has said it will retaliate, and major Chinese ports have already delayed clearing goods from the United States, according to several sources.

In Japan, Asia's third-biggest importer of crude, the oil industry has yet to react publicly to Friday's news.

Japan, another large Iranian oil client, is still buying crude from it but it will likely stop, too, being one of the closest USA allies in the region.

The minority analytical view sees plenty of opportunity in the current turmoil. "There was pressure from the South Korean government to halt purchases", Reuters quoted an unnamed source familiar with Iranian shipping arrangements as saying.

USA producers continued to bring more rigs into oilfields already producing at record levels.

An employee walks down the stairs of an oil storage tank after a regular check at a PetroChina refinery in Lanzhou, Gansu province January 7, 2011.

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