(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula
Doha, Qatar: Oil prices fell more than a dollar a barrel on Friday as the dollar strengthened and oil traders booked profits from a strong rally, with crude benchmarks recording their third-straight weekly gain. Brent crude futures settled at $79.87 per barrel, down $1.49, or 1.8 percent, while the US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell $1.47, or 1.9 percent, to close at $75.42 a barrel. The US dollar index edged higher after hitting a 15-month low during the session, as investors consolidated ahead of the weekend. A stronger greenback reduces oil demand, making crude more expensive for investors holding other currencies.
This week, however, the rally could resume as easing inflation, plans to refill the US strategic reserve, supply cuts, and disruptions could support the market.
Oil prices gained nearly 2 percent on a weekly basis after supply disruptions in Libya and Nigeria heightened concerns that the markets will tighten in coming months. Several oilfields in Libya were shut down because of a local protest.
Separately, Shell suspended loadings of Nigeria's Forcados crude oil owing to a potential leak at a terminal. The Libya disruption is halting an estimated 370,000 bpd while the loss from the Nigerian outage is pegged at 225,000 bpd.
Asia LNG Prices Slip on Muted Demand, High EU Stocks
Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices decreased last week, as muted demand in Northeast Asia and high gas inventories in Europe continued to weigh on prices. The average LNG price for August delivery into north-east Asia sank 12.5 percent from the previous week to $10.80 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), industry sources estimated.
In Europe, gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub fell last week to $8.85 per mmBtu, as production from Norwegian gas facilities came back online and the weather outlook suggests a mild Q4 through winter in Europe, said analysts. The region's high underground gas stocks, coupled with continued strong Norwegian gas production, are set to leave little space to absorb LNG at the turn of seasons and before European heating demand steps higher. In the US, natural gas futures held near a three-week low on Friday on forecasts for less hot weather in the US Northeast, a rise in output, and reduced amounts of fuel flowing to the country's LNG export plants as maintenance is ongoing at some facilities. Last week, front-month gas futures fell to $2.54 per mmBtu.
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