Brent oil slips towards $108 as supply fears ease

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Brent crude slipped towards $108 a barrel on Tuesday as supply disruptions eased, though rising tension in the Middle East and anticipated declines in U.S. oil stockpiles limited losses.

Oil exports from the Buzzard field in the North Sea are to resume after suspension for maintenance. Libya's oil minister, meanwhile, said on Monday that production was improving in the North African OPEC producer.

But oil's decline was checked by news that Washington told U.S. citizens in Yemen to leave immediately and airlifted out some government personnel after warning of potential attacks that pushed Washington to shut diplomatic missions across the Middle East.

"Some of the supply problems that had lent support to the oil prices in the preceding days appear to be abating," Carsten Fritsch of Commerzbank said.

"That said, the expectation of a renewed inventory reduction in the U.S. and the latest terror warning issued by the U.S. for North Africa and the Middle East are likely to preclude any sharper fall in prices."

Brent was off 67 cents at $108.03 by 1359 GMT, while U.S. oil fell $1.03 to $105.53 a barrel.

Brent had risen nearly 10 percent in six weeks, touching $110.09 on Aug. 2, the highest since early April, in part due to worries over supply from major exporters such as Libya and Iraq.

Losses were also limited by expectations that U.S. crude and gasoline stockpiles fell last week.

A preliminary Reuters poll, ahead of weekly inventory reports from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, forecast a drop in crude stocks of 700,000 barrels in the week ended Aug. 2.

In the previous week, U.S. crude inventories rose 431,000 barrels to about 365 million barrels.



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