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Brent crude oil steadies at $99 on hopes of OPEC output cut

The price of Brent crude oil has steadied at $99 per barrel on Wednesday on expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) may cut the 2015 output.

 

Reuters reported that Brent declined 25 cents to $98.80 a barrel and US crude was down 25 cents to settle at $94.63.

 

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri was quoted by the news agency as saying the group could reduce its 2015 production target by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd).

 

Most of the OPEC nations want oil to be priced over $100 a barrel.

 

Saudi Arabia is expected to reduce its production levels in order to support prices and any such cut by OPEC, which is planned for November this year, will be the first to be undertaken since 2008.

 

The price of oil traded above $115 a barrel in June on concerns that an Islamist insurgency in Iraq may affect oil production.

 

However, oil exports from Iraq have been steady while Libyan exports have surged in recent weeks.

 

The increase in oil production in the US, the majority of which is from shale, created a huge surplus in the Atlantic Basin and Asia, Reuters said.

 

Libya's National Oil Corp said that production at its El-Sharara oil field had been reduced following rockets landing near the Zawiya refinery, which produces 120,000 bpd.

 

Oil workers in Nigeria started strike action, which is expected to impact exports, while investors are also worried about the global economic outlook, the strength of the US currency and the outcome of an independence vote in Scotland.

 

Data from the American Petroleum Institute revealed that US crude stocks increased to 3.3 million barrels last week, against analysts' expectations of 1.6 million barrels.

 

The Energy Information Administration is due to unveil its official inventory data later today.

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