Oil prices edged up on Tuesday on uncertainty over Libyan oil exports, but gains were dampened by an expected increase in supply from producer cartel OPEC and by an intensifying trade conflict between the United States and other major economies.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $74.83 per barrel at 0512 GMT, up 10 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $68.29 a barrel, up 21 cents, or 0.3 percent.
Prices were mostly driven up by uncertainty around oil exports by Libya, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces gave control of oil ports to a separate National Oil Corporation (NOC) based in the country’s east.
The official state-owned oil company from the capital Tripoli, also called NOC, will not be allowed to handle that oil anymore, he said.
“The move increases the risk that Libyan oil output will be shut in as the NOC in Tripoli is the only legal entity with the right to sell oil,” said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.
Higher feedstock crude oil prices, as well as surging fuel exports from China, have pulled down Asian refinery product margins to two-year lows.