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Oil prices mixed amid easing US pipeline concerns

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Global oil prices diverged on Wednesday amid easing supply concerns over an important US pipeline, analysts said.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April fell 15 cents to $117.37 a barrel in London midday deals.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March rose 33 cents to $96.99 per barrel.

US crude prices advanced "on reports of increasing oil volume through the Seaway pipeline," IG Markets Singapore said in a report, referring to the pipeline serving Gulf Coast refineries.

The Seaway pipeline has recently been troubled by distribution problems but plans to pump 295,000 barrels a day between late February and the end of May, media reports said.

Seaway is seen as a critical component in addressing a glut of oil at the bottlenecked US hub in Cushing, Oklahoma.

The pipeline's capacity was recently expanded to 400,000 barrels a day from 150,000 barrels, but the operator has encountered technical problems that have limited the volume.

Later on Wednesday, analysts will pore over the American Petroleum Institute's weekly supply report for clues on the health of oil demand in the world's biggest crude consuming nation.

The industry body's statistics are due one day later than normal due to Monday's holiday.

Similarly, on Thursday the US government's Department of Energy will publish its weekly inventory figures one day later than usual.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130220/oil-prices-mixed-amid-easing-us-pipeline-concerns