"The Forties pipeline outage is continuing to be supportive of the market," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital. "We're just watching this as to see how the market reacts to not having these barrels available."
The 450,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) link that provides some of the physical crude underpinning Brent has been shut since Dec. 11, forcing Ineos to declare force majeure on all oil and gas shipments from it last week.
"There is still no reliable information about how long the repair work will last and when the pipeline will go back into operation," Commerzbank said in a note, adding "this should preclude any fall in the Brent price for the foreseeable future."
A major Nigerian oil union said on Monday it would suspend a nationwide strike after securing worker demands through dispute resolution with the government and an oil firm. The strike by Nigerian oil workers had sparked concerns over exports from Africa's largest crude producer.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, whose members mainly work in the upstream oil industry, started industrial action on Monday after talks with government agencies ended in deadlock.
In the United States, energy companies cut rigs drilling for new production for the first time in six weeks, to 747, in the week ended Dec. 15, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday.