Markets

Oil prices slip below $101 after Libyan deal

Oil prices fell below $101 a barrel Monday following reports that four Libyan oil terminals under militia control could soon open and possibly boost global supplies.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was down 50 cents to $100.64 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Nymex contract gained 85 cents to close at $101.14 on Friday. The price has vacillated around $100 a barrel for most of the past month.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of oil, was down $1.08 to $105.64 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. The official Libyan news agency said the country's main militia in the east agreed to hand back control of four oil terminals it captured and shut down last summer to demand a share in oil revenues. The shutdown has cost Libya billions of dollars.

Under the deal reached late Sunday, the militia would immediately hand over two terminals to the national government and return two others in a few weeks. "This means that Libyan crude exports could increase by around 200,000 barrels a day in the next few days and a further 550,000 barrels a day early May if all goes according to plan," analysts at JBC Energy in Vienna said in a report

However, they cautioned that the timing of the renewed oil shipments "may be much later than announced" given Libya's track record. In other energy futures trading in New York: — Wholesale gasoline fell 1.79 cents to $2.9134 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 5.5 cents to $4.494 per 1,000 cubic feet. — Heating oil shed 1.97 cents to $2.8882 a gallon.

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