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Brent below $65/b on report Saudi Arabia to return output in 2-3 weeks

New York — Brent crude futures tumbled below $65/b in US morning trading Tuesday following a report from Reuters that Saudi Arabia's crude production would return in the next two to three weeks.

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At 1420 GMT, NYMEX front-month crude was trading $3.56 lower at $59.34/b, while ICE front-month Brent was trading $4.32 lower at $64.70/b.

The Reuters report cited an unnamed Saudi official who said that nearly 70% of the country's production had been restored following a Saturday attack on the Abqaiq processing facility and the Khurais field.

The report preceded an expected press conference set to be given by Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman at 1715 GMT.

The attacks caused 5.7 million b/d of Saudi crude production to go offline, the minister said Sunday, though state-owned Saudi Aramco plans to use its vast storage inventories to offset some of the losses.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude exporter, pumped 9.78 million b/d in August, according to the latest S&P Global Platts survey of OPEC production.

Saudi Arabia holds crude in storage in domestic tanks as well at sites in Egypt, Japan and the Netherlands.

"The market is feeling relieved about supplies but the story is not over yet," Price Futures Group's senior market analyst Phil Flynn said.

While Saudi crude production may be returning, there are still some unanswered questions, such as how Saudi Arabia can prevent another similar attack.

"Yeah, you can bring it on line, but how can you stop it again?" Flynn said.

--Jeff Mower, --Edited by Jonathan Dart,