US crude ends at 2-month high; gas, Brent lead broad rally

Oil rigs just south of town extract crude in Taft, California.
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Brent crude oil rose by more than $1 on Friday, with U.S. oil following suit, supported by refinery outages in the United States that will boost the need for gasoline imports linked to the global benchmark, and on reduced Libyan supply.

U.S. RBOB gasoline futures led the oil complex higher, rising by as much as 1.6 percent as a host of U.S. refinery snags were expected to cut supply during the peak holiday driving season. Ultra low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) futures were up 1.5 percent as strikes at four Total refineries in France have closed 60 percent of the country's refinery capacity, likely boosting demand for U.S. distillate exports.

Brent crude was up more than $1 above $111 a barrel, while U.S. crude ended up 28 cents at $99.32 per barrel, its highest settlement since October 18.

Data on Friday showing the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in almost two years in the third quarter initially supported U.S. oil prices but they later fell. Brent prices were also underpinned by continuing disruption in Libya, where crude exports have dropped to 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) from more than 1 million bpd in July.

The OPEC producer is stepping up fuel imports as a mix of militias, tribesmen and civil servants demanding political rights, or a greater share of Libya's oil wealth, have occupied several oilfields and ports.

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