Oil prices edged higher by nearly 2 percent on Monday after clashes erupted in Libya on Sunday, raising concerns that efforts to restart crude exports could be disrupted.
In recent weeks, oil prices have been low and investors are keenly watching mixed messages coming from OPEC and non-OPEC member states as they prepare to meet informally next week. However, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro says the two sides are nearing a deal to stabilise markets.
“Most in the market I think seem that the old prices are going to remain, stuck between 40 and 50 dollars a barrel, which clearly implies that very few anticipate that a deal will be struck despite the very strong desire on the part of countries such as Venezuela to get a deal to drive the price up to take the pressure off its beleaguered economy,” said an independent markets analyst.
Clashes in Libya have halted the loading of the first oil cargo from the port of Ras Lanuf in close to two years and raised fears of a new conflict over Libya’s oil resources.
Oil traders are closely monitoring the situation in the north African country, where current production stands at about 300,000 barrels per day.