UPDATE 8-Oil falls about 2% on Libyan output, COVID-19 demand concerns


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    * Libya's NOC lifts force majeure on exports
    * For the week, WTI lost 2.5% and Brent shed 2.7%. 
    * COVID-19 surges across U.S., France extends curfew
    * U.S. oil and gas rig count rises to highest since May

 (New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments
to settlement)
    By Laila Kearney
    NEW YORK, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Oil fell nearly 2% on Friday,
finishing lower for the week, in anticipation of a surge in
Libyan crude supply and demand concerns caused by surging
coronavirus cases in the United States and Europe. 
    Crude prices sank after Libya's National Oil Corp (NOC) said
it lifted force majeure on exports from key ports and output
would reach 1 million barrels per day in four weeks.
    "As soon as that came out, the market cratered," said Bob
Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.     
    U.S. crude  CLc1  settled at $39.85 a barrel, falling 79
cents, or 1.9%. Brent crude  LCOc1  settled at $41.77 a barrel,
losing 69 cents, or 1.6%. For the week, U.S. crude futures lost
2.5% and Brent futures shed 2.7%. 
    Italy and several U.S. states reported record daily
increases in infections, while France extended curfews for about
two-thirds of its population as the second wave of the COVID-19
pandemic sweeps across Europe.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2HE5WX  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2HD65T
    "What's holding us back is the uncertainty about demand -
when we're going to get a vaccine, when things are going to get
back to normal, concerns about more shutdowns," said Phil Flynn,
senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. 
    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said Moscow did
not rule out extending OPEC+ oil output cuts, but that assurance
did not offset the expectations for rising Libyan output and
demand worries, analysts said.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2HD7QT
    "They need to say, 'We are not going to bring back those two
million barrels,'" Yawger said.
    OPEC+, which includes Russia and the Organization of the
Petroleum Exporting Countries, is due to increase production by
2 million bpd in January 2021.
    U.S. energy companies added five oil rigs to raise the total
rig count to 287 in the week to Oct. 23, the highest since May,
energy services firm Baker Hughes Co  BKR.N  said. The rig count
is an indicator of future supply. RIG/U  

 (Additional reporting by Alex Lawler in LONDON and Aaron
Sheldrick in TOKYO
Editing by Marguerita Choy, David Goodman and Sonya Hepinstall)
 ((Laila.kearney@thomsonreuters.com; (917) 809-0054))

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