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Dated Brent assessed over $108/b on Libyan shut-ins, short European crude supply


Dated Brent was assessed at $108.015/b Monday on the back of shortening European crude supply and healthy demand in spite of poor refining margins, traders said.

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This was the first time since early April that the key global oil benchmark has been assessed as high, Platts data show.

Traders said a number of European supply concerns were supporting the benchmark.

Most recently, geopolitical tensions in North Africa have spurred fears of contagion and supply shortages; Libya's crude oil production from El Sharara, Zueitina and Es Sider has been shut in for periods.

While some grades, such as Es Sider and El Sharara, are retuning to action, the effect of the shut-ins has been to lower the loading certainty of the grades in refiners' minds, meaning that many sill seek alternative supply.

This added to the backdrop of already tight European crude oil supply.

European Urals exports are at record lows for June and July, as Russia aligns a greater portion of its export potential towards China.

North Sea field maintenance in early August is also seeing supply shorten further, as many grades see limited production in the first five to 10 days of August.

"It still looks pretty [strong] -- there's not that much oil around. [North Sea] programs are a little shorter in the August 1-10 period; Libya is having issues... it's inconsistent and that means people look to other grades, and Urals is still very strong," one North Sea crude trader said.

Another North Sea crude trader echoed this sentiment, adding: "The only possible [downside] could come from margins but [refiners will likely] keep soldiering on."

--Benno Spencer,
--Edited by Jonathan Fox,