UPDATE 4-Brent rises above $112 on African oil supply cuts

Peg Mackey
Friday, 27 Dec 2013 | 10:02 AM ET

* Libya, South Sudan supply disruptions support oil

* Strikes end at French refineries

* Coming up: U.S. EIA weekly oil data; 1600 GMT

(Updates throughout)

LONDON, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Brent crude rose above $112 a barrel on Friday as civil unrest in Africa cut into oil supply.

Escalating violence in South Sudan threatened to reduce its crude output further, adding to supply outages in Libya, where production is running at a mere 250,000 barrels per day (bpd).

A mix of militias, tribesmen and political minorities, demanding a greater share of Libya's oil wealth and more political power, have shut most oilfields and ports, cutting oil output from the 1.4 million bpd in July.

Brent climbed 12 cents to $112.10 by 1438 GMT after settling at $111.98 on Thursday, the highest since Dec. 3. U.S. crude topped $100 for the first time in two months and was trading at $100.17 a barrel, a gain of 62 cents.

Easing concern over product tightness, workers at Total's last striking refinery in France ended their two-week walkout.

"The end of the French refinery strikes is one less risk factor for the holiday period. The risk on Libya has not changed and should be already priced (in)," said Olivier Jakob, an oil analyst at Petromatrix.

"South Sudan carries a risk of getting worse, but with about 220,000 bpd at risk it should not be enough to change the dynamics of the crude oil markets."

Rebels in South Sudan have seized some oil wells in Unity state and captured half the capital of the main oil-producing region as African leaders held talks to avert civil war.

Oil output has already fallen by nearly a fifth to 200,000 barrels per day after the Unity state oilfields shut earlier this week due to fighting.

But an army spokesman said rebels had been defeated in Malakal, the capital of major oil-producing Upper Nile state.

Traders are now awaiting a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to gauge supply and demand in the world's top oil consumer.

Crude stockpiles are expected to have fallen for a fourth straight week while gasoline inventories could have risen, analysts said in a Reuters poll.

Data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed that crude stocks unexpectedly rose by 716,000 barrels last week, while gasoline and distillate stocks dropped.

A fall in U.S. jobless claims and stronger retail sales reinforced a more robust outlook for the world's largest economy next year.

Some analysts, however, do not expect this to translate into stronger fuel demand due to the use of more fuel-efficient vehicles and abundant natural gas.

(Additional reporting by Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by William Hardy and Dale Hudson)