LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - Oil rose on Tuesday, after Libya said loadings of crude at a key port had been suspended, offseting an earlier dent to the price caused by evidence of the inexorable growth in US oil output.
In oil markets, US energy companies last week cut oil rigs for the first time in nearly two months, with drillers cutting back four rigs, to 796, Baker Hughes (GE.N) energy services firm said.
That would be a reversal from a supply deficit in 2017 and early 2018.
The crude outputs are looking to take another miserable turn as the U.S. daily reports may climb to levels similar to what they were producing a year ago.
The increases in USA production has this year exceeded the supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which have been in place since 2017 in an effort by the cartel, and supported by non-OPEC member Russian Federation, to prop up prices.
Traders are saying the early price action was related to a drop in the number U.S. rigs drilling for more production and Friday's robust U.S. Non-Farm Payrolls report, which could lead to increased demand.
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Friday's strong USA payroll data, which showed a hefty 313,000 rise in jobs but tempered growth in hourly earnings, supported Treasuries in Monday trade.
ING's Patterson agrees that keeping a lid on price hikes is necessary; in an interview in Singapore he said, "We need to see prices in the short-term trade below $60 to reduce that incentive for USA producers".
Despite this, general market conditions remain weak, and crude prices have not managed to return to their early 2018 highs of over $70 per barrel for Brent and nearly $67 a barrel for WTI.
The EIA last week also raised its production estimate for the full year, saying it expects total USA crude production to rise by 1.4 million barrels a day in 2018. Asia is the biggest buyer of the supplies.
The predictions and the forecasts for the oil production are looking grim at an expected 11 million barrels per day and more by the end of the year. Rig counts serve as a loose gauge of future production, though the slip has been overshadowed by steady upward revisions to expectations for total US crude oil production.
Asia is "a market that the Middle East does not really want to give up", ING's Patterson said. "The deal will still officially be in place, but once we get into 2019 there's no chance that we will see some sort of deal".