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Crude slipped for the first time in more than a week following reports that a damaged Libyan pipeline should be repaired next week.

February WTI crude oil (USO) futures contracts are above their 20-day, 50-day, and 100-day moving averages on December 26, 2017.

An explosion on a pipeline carrying crude oil from Libya's south to a port terminal in its north Tuesday will slash production, the country's National Oil Company said.

"You have a few people wrapping up their books" at the end of the year, Ashley Petersen, lead oil analyst at Stratas Advisors in NY, said in a telephone interview.

The global benchmark for oil prices, Brent crude LCOc1, slipped 15 cents and crude CLc1 was down 7 cents at $58.40. Prices hit a session high of 66.83 a barrel.

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Reports of a pipeline explosion in Libya sent oil prices soaring to $60 a barrel, that is a two-and-a-half year highs.

"The confirmation that Forties is coming back is the main development of the long weekend", said Olivier Jakob, analyst at Petromatrix.

Crude prices had dipped earlier in the day on expectations that the key Forties pipeline in the North Sea will resume deliveries in early January after repairs were completed following an unplanned shut-down of the system. The line exploded Tuesday and the nation's output is said to have dropped below 1 million barrels a day, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Distillates rose by 2.76 million barrels. The EIA will release United States crude oil production data on December 28, 2017. Stockpiles at the key pipeline hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, probably slid 590,000 barrels last week, according to a forecast compiled by Bloomberg.

The production cut extension and improving global crude oil demand will support oil prices in 2018.


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