Brent rose on Tuesday supported by instability in Libya while U.S. oil for June delivery dipped modestly, as expectations for an increase in domestic stockpiles competed with buying pressure on the contract's last day of trading.
The El Feel and El Shahara oilfields in western Libya were still shut more than a week after the government said protests there were over, an official said, and output was flat at 210,000 barrels a day.
Violence among rival militias and an attack on parliament by armed men claiming loyalty to retired Major General Khalifa Haftar on Sunday led the French oil major Total to cut its presence in Tripoli and Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach began evacuating workers. The movement by Haftar may signal an attempt to draw up a broader anti-Islamist front that risks a wider battle in the North African state, which is trying to boost oil exports crucial to the economy.
Brent crude was 40 cents higher near $110 a barrel, after settling 38 cents lower. U.S. crude for June delivery ended 17 cents lower at $102.44 a barrel. The contract, which closed 59 cents up, expires on Tuesday. U.S. crude for July delivery was also marginally lower near $102 per barrel.
Industry group the American Petroleum Institute will release its inventory report at 4:30 p.m. Eastern and the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration report will come out Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.
A Reuters poll found U.S. commercial crude stocks were expected to have risen by 1 million barrels in the week to May 16 while gasoline stocks are seen flat and refinery runs up 0.5 percent. That would take crude inventories to a record high after inventories hit 399.4 million barrels in the week to April 25, the highest since the EIA began collecting such data in 1982.
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