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Crude ends higher; Mideast developments boost prices

Reuters with
Oil rigs just south of town extract crude in Taft, California.
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Global oil prices climbed for a second straight day on Thursday as investors monitored diplomatic efforts to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons and Libya declared force majeure on another three ports.

The two-day rally follows two days of heavy losses that wiped $5 off the global Brent benchmark. Another supportive factor was the International Energy Agency's upbeat forecast for global oil demand for 2014.

Libya's state National Oil Corp declared force majeure, a legal term to cover the suspension of contractual obligations, on three ports that had not been exporting crude oil for more than two weeks, an NOC document showed on Thursday.

Political unrest had already seen Libya's oil output plunge to a tenth of usual production and exports fall to about 80,000 barrels per day earlier this month, pushing up oil prices.

Early Thursday, Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said from an energy ministers conference in Seoul that his country and other producers remain "willing and capable of meeting any additional demand."

U.S. crude settled up $1.04 at $108.60. Brent crude for October, which expires on Friday, rose by more than $1 to near $113. The contract for November delivery rose by more than one percent to just under $112.

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