US oil snaps 3-week losing streak, ends over $94
Crude rose on Friday, with Brent reversing course from a two-month low and U.S. crude ending higher, driven by demand for heating fuels and rising gasoline prices.
Still, gains were offset by expectations for increased supply from Libya and Iran. Brent prices have fallen almost 10 percent since August on expectations of a supply boost from Libya and Iran, narrowing the European benchmark's premium over U.S. crude to a low of $11.16, the tightest since Dec. 20.
U.S. gasoline and heating oil futures climbed more than 1 percent as demand in the U.S. rose sharply on forecasts of more cold weather. Government data released earlier in the week showed an unexpectedly large drawdown in oil stocks and in distillates, which include heating fuel.
Brent crude reversed earlier losses to trade near $107 a barrel. Brent oil for March delivery, which became the front-month contract following the expiry of the February contract on Thursday, bounced off a two-month low of $105.44. U.S. crude rose 41 cents to settle at $94.37 a barrel, its first weekly gain in three weeks.
TransCanada's Gulf Coast pipeline is expected to begin pumping 300,000 barrels per day of U.S. crude oil from the U.S. storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf Coast next week, further narrowing its discount to Brent.
Libya's crude production has partially recovered after it restarted output at the El Sharara field, while progress in nuclear talks between the major powers and Iran could ease sanctions that have curbed exports from the OPEC producer. But losses have been limited as domestic tensions continue to threaten the oil sector in Libya, where authorities held talks this week with protesters who threatened to restart a blockade of the El Sharara field.
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