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The head of the Supreme Security Committee for Tripoli says the group, called the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room, took Zaidan based on false information that an arrest warrant had been issued for him.
Zaidan's kidnapping highlights the difficulty that Libya has had in restoring law and order since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Nymex crude oil is +0.4% to $102.04, Brent is +0.7% to $109.75.
Major energy companies with interests in Libya, which has Africa's largest proven oil reserves, include Marathon Oil (MRO), Hess (HES), ConocoPhillips (COP), Eni (E), Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B), Exxon (XOM), Repsol (REPYY.PK), Total (TOT) and Apache (APA).
As Gulf coast states prepare for the advance of tropical storm Karen, BP says it is shutting in all of its oil and natural gas production in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, and Anadarko (APC) says it has removed all workers and shut in all production at its eastern Gulf facilities.
Last year, BP produced 214K bbl/day from the Gulf, making it the largest producer in the region.
Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B), Exxon (XOM), Chevron (CVX), Marathon Oil (MRO) and Murphy Oil (MUR) are all removing non-essential workers from their offshore facilities.
Seven major refineries with a combined capacity of 1.8M bbl/day - ~10% of the U.S. total - are in Karen's path; Phillips 66 (PSX) and Valero (VLO) say they're continuing to monitor the storm's progress.
Crude oil price gains remain subdued, as WTI +0.2% to $103.50/bbl and Brent +0.1% to $109.07.
Oil prices are up only modestly, as WTI +0.7% to $104.01/bbl and Brent +0.6% to $109.63; prices have been pulled down by the U.S. government shutdown, declining geopolitical risks and positive inventory data released earlier this week, but the storm is helping oil prices find support.
TransCanada (TRP -0.4%) says the southern leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project is 95% complete, although it won't start carrying oil until after October.
The pipeline's progress is positive for West Texas crude prices because rumors had been going around that the project could be delayed; WTI rose as much as 1.8%, reversing an earlier decline, after the news broke.
The line is expected to speed the decrease of crude stockpiles at the Cushing, Okla., hub; supplies at Cushing fell to 32.8M barrels last week, the 13th straight weekly decline and lowest level since Feb. 2012, as new railroads and pipelines continue to reduce the surplus of oil in the region and transport it to refiners on the Gulf coast.
Iran’s return to the oil market could trigger a "positive supply shock," sending oil prices plunging by as much as $20/bbl; Iranian oil could roil markets since there is already adequate supply sloshing around at a time of subdued global economic growth.
Saudi Arabia, which has been cranking up production to record levels to offset falling output from unstable producers, may cut its own production to ensure price stability, leading to a more subdued $10 decline.
It may not take too long for Iran to reach ~4M bbl/day pre-sanction levels since it stopped production only due to declining exports, says the head of SVB Energy.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had a private discussion over Iran's nuclear program yesterday at the U.N. in New York in what was the highest-level official meeting between the countries since before the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Kerry said the talks, which came after wider negotiations between Iran and major international powers, were "constructive." However, he warned that much work was needed to be done, with the U.S. wanting clear proof that Iran was not developing nuclear weapons before sanctions would be eased.
Despite the caution, the improved relations helped send oil 0.5% lower to $102.49.
Countries such as Argentina, Russia and Algeria hold shale oil deposits that could be even more bountiful than the regions at the center of the U.S. energy revolution.
The 23 most promising "tight" oilfields outside the U.S. and Canada have the potential to extract 5M bpd in the 2020s, a report from research firm IHS has estimated. "Does that affect the oil market? Yes, it does," IHS's Steve Trammel said.
A main problem, though, is that the cost of shale production in many countries is significantly higher than in the U.S., which means energy prices will need to rise in order for projects to be viable. (PR)
Vladimir Putin looks to have changed his position on Syria, saying that he "does not rule out" supporting military intervention against the country if it was proved "beyond doubt" that the government used chemical weapons.
Russia would even "be ready to act in the most decisive and serious way."
Putin has been a major obstacle in rallying the international community into action against Syria. He believes that any intervention should only take place with U.N. approval, which can't happen without his say-so.
He also said that the videos of a chemical attack could have been fabricated by elements "connected with al Qaeda".
Putin's remarks come ahead of a G20 meeting in Moscow tomorrow and on Thursday, when he's expected to come under pressure from world leaders over Syria.
WTI crude oil is -0.3% at $108.24 a barrel despite the drum beat for action starting to ramp up again. Brent is +0.1% at $115.82.
The U.S. is reportedly still considering military intervention against Syria for the latter country's suspected use of chemical weapons despite Britain's parliament last night ruling out such action.
The Obama administration moved to strengthen domestic support for intervention by providing congressional leaders with intelligence findings that pointed to the Assad regime's culpability.
The U.S. could even take unilateral action, although it may not have to, as French President Francois Hollande reiterated his support for action.
Oil is -1% to $107.69 following the U.K.'s decision, with Citi strategist Tim Evans saying that while a strike against Syria is still possible, it's "certainly looking less likely than it did a day ago."