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    Firefighters try to put out the fire in an oil tank in Es Sider port December 26, 2014

    Libya Partly Puts Out Oil Tank Blaze as Oil Prices Slowly Rebound

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    Fires have reportedly been extinguished at three of five oil tanks in Libya’s largest crude oil port; all five were set ablaze amid a rocket attack by Islamist militants and the country is calling for international help putting out the flames.

    MOSCOW, December 29 (Sputnik) – Libyan firefighters have reportedly put out fires at three of five tanks which were set alight at Libya’s Es Sider oil export port, Bloomberg quotes a spokesman for the Petroleum Facilities Guard, Ali al-Hasy, as saying via phone on Monday.

    The country has appealed for international help to prevent six million barrels of crude from spilling into the Mediterranean Sea.

    The five oil tanks in the port were set ablaze last week as the result of a rocket attack by Islamist militants. The rocket was fired by Islamist fighters from the group Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn).

    Oil has advanced for the first time in three days; Brent crude was up 48 cents at $59.93 by 0530 GMT after hitting $60.40 earlier in the day, according to Reuters. The benchmark had slid 79 cents in the previous session.

    The price of US crude rose 69 cents to $55.42 after closing $1.11 down amid low trading volumes on Friday. It rose to a peak of $55.74 in early trading on Monday.

    The agency says that Daniel Ang, an analyst with Singapore's Phillip Futures, expects Brent to remain at around $60 and US crude to trade between $55 and $56 this week.

    This is partly due to speculation that the conflict in Libya will help ease a global supply surplus that has prompted a prolonged fall in crude oil prices.

    The fire has destroyed 800,000 barrels of crude — more than two days of the country's output, Reuters quotes Libyan officials as saying.

    "Libya, and all the other problems, warrants some kind of risk premium," the agency quotes Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Sydney's Ayers Alliance, as saying. "Oil is at a level where people are happy to build in a risk premium."

    This year, oil prices have fallen by almost 50 percent, with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) refusing to cut production and the United States seeing its highest energy output in 30 years because of a shale boom.

    In November, OPEC, which accounts for some 40 percent of the world’s oil output, decided not to cut production despite a sharp decline in oil prices in recent months.

    A drop in oil prices can have knock-on effects on the economy, as oil exporting countries such as Russia and Venezuela are currently experiencing.

    Related:

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    HRW Calls to Stop Forcible Return of Civilians to Libya
    Libya Launches Airstrikes on Islamist Targets Near Tripoli Airport
    UN, US, EU Pledge Extra Measures to Protect Libya's Unity
    Tags:
    oil prices, oil refinery, attack, fire, Libya
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