UPDATE 3-Oil pushes higher on Syria tension


* Turkey, Syria fighting stokes worries about Mideast supply

* EIA, OPEC cut global oil demand growth forecasts

* U.S. crude stockpiles up more than expected - API

* Coming Up: EIA weekly oil inventories data; 1500 GMT

(Updates throughout, changes dateline from SINGAPORE)

By Simon Falush and Alice Baghdjian

LONDON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil headed for itshighest close in a month on Thursday, lifted by escalatingtension between Syria and Turkey, maintenance in the North Seaand a supply crunch in oil products.

November Brent crude rose 69 cents to $115.02 abarrel by 0856 GMT after a volatile session on Wednesday thatsaw the contract up to $115.59, its highest since Sept. 17,before settling down slightly.

U.S. crude edged up 48 cents to $91.73 after droppingmore than 1 percent in the previous session. Alarger-than-expected rise in U.S. crude inventories weighed onprices.

Turkey scrambled fighters and briefly detained a Syrianpassenger plane on Wednesday, suspecting it of carrying militaryequipment from Moscow, while Turkey's military chief warned of amore forceful response if shelling continued to spill over theborder.

"The Syrian situation is heating up and there are fearsabout Turkey, a NATO member, retaliating and contagion in theregion," said Bjarne Schieldrop, analyst at SEB in Oslo.

Firmer refining margins and steep backwardation in thegasoil market, where prices are higher for prompt delivery thanfor later dates, pointed to firm demand going into the northernhemisphere winter.

"There will be restocking ahead of the winter, so this isnot going to ease any time soon," Schieldrop said.

Worries about supply disruption caused by fears of violencein the Middle East and maintenance at the North Sea Forties oilfield has pushed Brent's premium to U.S. crude to its highest ina year at around $23.50 .


Graphic on 24-hr Brent chart analysis

Graphic on WTI-Brent spread



Forecasts of slower economic and fuel demand growth in theworld kept oil prices from rising further.

Global oil demand is looking weaker than previously forecastas the slowing economy continues to weigh on consumption, theU.S. government and the Organization of the Petroleum ExportingCountries said in their monthly report.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and OPECcut on Wednesday their forecasts for growth in world oil demandin 2013, a day after the International Monetary Fund lowered itseconomic growth forecasts for the second time since April.

China's annual economic growth probably slowed for a seventhstraight quarter in the July-September period to the weakestlevel since the depths of the global financial crisis, a Reuterspoll showed.

The EIA and OPEC reports are two of three major oil outlooksdue out this week, with the International Energy Agency set torelease its October oil markets outlook on Friday.

In the United States, crude stocks rose 1.6 million barrelslast week, the industry group American Petroleum Institute saidon Wednesday, more than an 800,000-barrel build forecast byanalysts in a Reuters poll.

The EIA will release its weekly inventory report later onThursday. A poll of 12 analysts' forecast weekly U.S. stockpilesdata would show crude inventories up 800,000 barrels for weekended Oct. 5.

(Additional reporting by Florence Tan in Singapore; editing byJames Jukwey)



Keywords: MARKETS OIL/