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Crude Oil Hits Three-Week Low On Libya News

Brent and West Texas intermediate crudes fell to three-week lows Wednesday as rebels in Libya said two oil ports they have held for a year are free to reopen.

The ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, the nation's largest and third-largest, can ship crude again in a gesture of support for the newly elected parliament, Ali Al-Hasy, spokesman of the self-declared Executive Office of Barqa, said Thursday.

"Reports that we may have two export terminals reopen in Libya are adding to the pressure," said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Conn. "Going forward, geopolitical risk is still the primary driver."

Brent for August settlement dropped $1.05, or 0.9%, to end at $111.24 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, the lowest since June 11. The volume of all futures was 69% more than the 100-day average for the time of day.

West Texas intermediatefor August delivery fell 86 cents, or 0.8%, to $104.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, also the lowest since June 11. Volume was about 6.2% above the 100-day average. Brent closed at a premium of $6.76 to WTI vs. $6.95 yesterday.

WTI gained 0.2% early after an Energy Information Administration report showed U.S. inventories decreased more than expected. U.S. crude oil supplies dropped 3.16 million barrels in the week ended June 27 to 384.9 million, the lowest since April 4. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected a decline of 2.4 million.