Barclays Cuts 2013 Oil Forecasts as Supply Risks Fade

Barclays Plc, until now this year’s most bullish of 44 oil-price forecasters, cut its predictions for Brent and WTI crude, citing fewer supply threats.

West Texas Intermediate crude will average $95 a barrel this year, compared with a previous estimate of $108, Barclays said in an e-mailed report. Brent, the benchmark grade for more than half the world’s oil, will average $112 a barrel, down from $125, the highest of all analyst forecasts compiled by Bloomberg before today. Brent traded at about $108.41 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange at 4:50 p.m. in London, while WTI was at $95.42 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent prices fell today even after Libya’s state-run National Oil Corp. said that an explosion hit Zueitina Oil Co.’s crude and condensate pipelines yesterday, while the main rebel group in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger River delta said it’s resuming assaults on Africa’s biggest petroleum industry.

“These temporary dislocations will always be there,” Miswin Mahesh, Barclay’s oil analyst in London, said by phone. “Given the way we see the markets develop in the second and third quarters, demand is increasing, but supply is also increasing to meet these requirements.

‘‘You’ve got additional Angolan barrels coming into the market, Russia is supplying new volumes from its new ESPO pipeline in Asia, the North Sea looks fairly stable at the moment in terms of supply,’’ he said. ‘‘All of these offsets together make it a very balanced market.’’

Crude prices have retreated about 8 percent from this year’s peak, reached in early February, amid easing concern that tension between western governments and Iran over the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear program will result in a wider conflict that would disrupt oil exports from the Middle East.

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