By Nicole Friedman

NEW YORK--Oil prices traded near flat Monday after Libya announced a resumption in exports from its largest oil field but unsteady production levels.

Brent crude on ICE Futures Europe, the global benchmark, recently traded down 3 cents at $107.21 a barrel.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery rose 52 cents, or 0.5%, to $103.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The August contract expires Tuesday. The more-actively traded September contract rose just 20 cents, or 0.2%, to $102.15 a barrel.

The first shipment from Libya's largest oil field since February is due later Monday, an official said.

Libyan exports have been halted by labor unrest in recent months, sharply reducing the country's output and limiting global supplies. A resumption of Libyan exports could reduce traders' concerns about a potential disruption of supply due to sectarian violence in Iraq.

Brent, the global oil benchmark, "appears to be pricing in sustainable output of at least (500,000 to 600,000 barrels a day)" of Libyan supply, said energy-analytics firm Ritterbusch & Associates in a note Monday. "Nonetheless, fighting in the country's capital and airport as well as safety inspections at eastern ports could easily delay or disrupt an orderly resumption of Libyan supply to the global market."

The Libyan official said that overall production in the country has fallen about 100,000 barrels a day since last week to about 500,000 barrels a day.

Some international oil companies have evacuated expatriate employees in recent days following violence at Tripoli's airport.

Oil traders are also watching tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which came to the forefront last week when a passenger plane was shot down. The European Union has threatened broad new sanctions against Russia, the second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia.

The oil market is "all about geopolitical tension at the moment," said Matt Smith, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric SA (SU.FR), an energy-consulting firm. "The reality is that even though there are concerns with Russia, we're still a good distance from seeing any sort of (oil) supply impacted."

Front-month August reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, recently rose 1.8 cents, or 0.6%, to $2.8783 a gallon. August diesel rose 0.99 cent, or 0.4%, to $2.8551 a gallon.

--Benoît Faucon, Jay Solomon and Anton Troianovski contributed to this article.

Write to Nicole Friedman at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 21, 2014 09:43 ET (13:43 GMT)

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