Oil Gains for Second Day on Greece Aid, Keystone Pipe Disruption

Oil rose for a second day, trimming the biggest monthly decline in a year, on signs European officials will approve more aid for Greece and as a leak shut a pipeline carrying crude to the largest U.S. storage hub.

Futures climbed as much as 2 percent, topping $102 a barrel for the first time since May 11, after TransCanada Corp. closed the Keystone pipeline that runs from Alberta to Cushing, Oklahoma, where New York-traded oil is stored. The euro rose to a three-week high against the dollar, bolstering the appeal of commodities for protecting against inflation. Oil also gained on forecasts consumer confidence in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude user, increased to the highest in three months.

“Bullish factors are winning this morning, with the market again being supported by the weak dollar,” said Christopher Bellew, senior broker at Bache Commodities Ltd. in London.

Crude for July delivery climbed as much as $2.01 to $102.60 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $102.11 at 12:48 p.m. London time.

Futures, down 10 percent this month, are set to snap an eight-month rising streak. Floor trading was closed yesterday for the U.S. Memorial Day holiday and transactions will be booked with today’s trades for settlement purposes.

Brent crude for July settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange climbed as much as $2.01, or 1.8 percent, to $116.69 a barrel. Prices, down 7.9 percent this month, are also set to end an eight-month rally.

Pipeline ‘Issue’

Calgary-based TransCanada shut the 591,000 barrel-a-day Keystone pipeline after “an issue with a fitting” caused a 40-barrel oil leak at a pump station, according to an e-mailed statement from Terry Cunha, a company spokesman. There was no fault on the pipeline itself, he said.

“Market participants are looking for more bullish factors rather than bearish factors as the correction is over,” said Tetsu Emori, a commodity-fund manager at Astmax Ltd. in Tokyo, who predicts prices may rise to about $115 to $120 a barrel. “That’s why the market is focusing on such news even if it’s not really having a significant impact on supplies.”

Crude stockpiles at Cushing were at 40 million barrels in the week ended May 20, compared with 37.6 million a year earlier, the Energy Department said last week. Supplies reached a record 41.9 million in the week to April 8.

Greece Aid

The euro was up 0.7 percent at $1.4385 as of 12:48 p.m. in London after Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said European leaders will decide on a new aid package for Greece by the end of June and have ruled out a “total restructuring” of the nation’s debt. The European currency earlier rose to $1.4424, the strongest since May 9.

The Conference Board’s index of U.S. consumer confidence, scheduled for release at 10 a.m. in New York, will climb to 66.5 in May from 65.4 in April, based on the median estimate of 60 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Other reports this week may show U.S. factory output and job growth slowed while home-price declines accelerated.

Qatar’s oil minister said today there’s “no noticeable urgency” for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to raise its quota when it meets on June 8 in Vienna.

The oil market is in a “healthy situation,” Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada said today at a news conference in Ras Laffan, Qatar. Supply, demand and prices are “getting stable,” he said.

Possible Quota Increase

Analysts at DnB NOR said OPEC is likely to increase its production quota of 24.845 million barrels a day to 27 million barrels. The 11 nations bound by this ceiling pumped 26.3 million barrels a day last month, the bank said in a report. An increase in the target would be the group’s first since 2008.

Oil in New York is set to finish May trading above a long-term support level on monthly technical charts. Futures remain above $94.97 a barrel, the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the market’s rally from $10.35 in December 1998 to $147.27 in July 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Investors use Fibonacci levels to identify points to buy or sell contracts. Crude is the fifth-worst performer in May in Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities.

Brent, the European benchmark, traded at a premium of $13.91 a barrel to U.S. futures. The difference between front-month contracts in London and New York reached a record $19.54 on Feb. 21. It averaged 76 cents last year.

Brent has increased 22 percent this year as unrest in the Middle East and North Africa toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and spread to Libya, Iran and Syria. In Yemen, the death toll from an attack on protesters by security forces rose to 57, with more than 1,000 injured in the city of Taiz, al-Jazeera television reported yesterday.

Libya’s rebel-leadership council yesterday sought representation at next week’s OPEC meeting. The country has lost 82 percent of its oil output this year because of protests against leader Muammar Qaddafi. The 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which gathers June 8 in Vienna, pump about 40 percent of the world’s crude.

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