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An oil pump at work. AP Photo/Hasan Jamali
Oil Prices

Oil prices step back up after dipping on Libyan rebel advances

As the rebel push for Tripoli stalls and Gaddafi remains elusive, analysts fear it will take longer to get Libyan oil production back on track.

OIL PRICES climbed back up after dropping early yesterday on news that Libyan rebels had taken control of most of Tripoli.

The price of Brent crude oil rose to $108.83 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Exchange, having fallen earlier to below $107.

As the rebel push stalls and Gaddafi’s whereabouts remain a mystery, market analysts have become more cautious about how quickly full oil production can resume in the troubled state. There are also fears that repairing damaged oil facilities and infrastructure could take more time than initially thought.

Libyan oil production fell sharply when the conflict broke out in mid-February from 1.5 million barrels a day to 60,000. Analysts at Goldman Sachs say that oil production will pick up next year, but will only reach an average of 250,000 barrels a day next year. However, analysts at NUS Consulting forecast that Libyan oil production is likely to return to pre-war levels by the first half of 2012.

Meanwhile, Chinese state media reports that China’s largest oil and gas producer has shut down its operations in both Libya and Syria over concerns about political instability, the AFP reports.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read: Gaddafi’s son reappears in Tripoli a day after his ‘capture’ >

Read: UN puts protest deaths at 2,200 as Syria disputes fact-finding report >

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