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Prices are firming, but don't ignore shots across the bow

Supply disruptions are firming oil prices. But the market is still too blasé about the risks, which may include a shrinking spare-capacity buffer

FIVE years ago this month civil war in Libya had shut in most of the country’s oil production, spooking the market. The International Energy Agency (IEA), fearing a squeeze on Brent that was pushing its price above $110 a barrel, coordinated a stock release. It helped prevent a more damaging spike. Civil conflict in Libya – historically significant to crude markets because of the quality of its oil – is still shutting in much of its output. Violence and sabotage in the Niger Delta has cost Nigeria, another exporter of high-end crude, almost 0.8m barrels a day of production. Wildfires have disrupted output from Canada’s oil sands. The market has largely shrugged. Brent has firmed above $50/b

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