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24.12.2013 16:40

Oil rose

Brent crude advanced to near its highest level in three weeks as violence in South Sudan forced a partial shutdown of oil production facilities.

Futures were up as much as 0.3 percent and are poised to end the year higher for the fifth time. Fighting in South Sudan, which exports about 220,000 barrels a day, has killed at least 500 people and led to the evacuation of employees from India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. There will be no floor or electronic trading tomorrow due to the Christmas holiday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked the Security Council for 5,500 soldiers to add to the peacekeeping mission of 7,000 already in South Sudan. The U.S. is positioning troops in the Horn of Africa region to assist in any additional evacuations, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said yesterday.

South Sudan has sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest oil reserves after Nigeria and Angola, according to BP Plc data.

Gasoline stockpiles stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer, probably rose by 1.1 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 20, according to the median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg before Energy Information Administration data on Dec. 27. Supplies have climbed the previous four weeks to 220.5 million, said the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm.

Crude inventories are projected to have decreased by 3 million barrels, the survey shows.

Brent for February settlement rose as much as 34 cents to $111.90 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange and was at $111.74 as of 1:08 p.m. in London. The contract closed at $111.77 on Dec. 20, the highest in more than two weeks. The volume of all futures traded was about 74 percent below the 100-day average. Prices have increased 0.7 percent this year.

West Texas Intermediate for February delivery was up 16 cents at $99.07 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent was at a premium of $12.69 to WTI. The spread widened yesterday for a fourth day to close at $13.

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