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08-Feb2019

Crude oil futures settle lower as Libya likely to increase production

Crude oil futures settled lower on Thursday after the European Commission slashed growth forecasts for the eurozone and its major economies sharply for 2019 and 2020, further stoking concerns of a global growth slowdown.  Further, the decline in oil came on reports that Libya could soon increase production. Libyan general took control of the country's largest oil field, the Sharara, raising the likelihood the facility will restart production. The added supply could bring more oil to the global market and put downward pressure on prices. The Sharara facilities, which can pump roughly 315,000 barrels a day of crude, were shut down late in 2018 after a group of armed gunmen took control of the field demanding better living conditions in the region. Libya, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is currently exempt from the cartel's agreement to curb production due to the civil unrest that has plagued its oil industry and economy.

Benchmark crude oil futures for March dropped $1.37 or 2.5 percent to settle $52.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. April Brent crude declined $1.06 or 1.7 percent to settle at $61.63 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.


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