The latest face-off between the Iraqi central government and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region has lifted crude prices in recent sessions. Kurdistan had almost unanimously voted to form a separate independent state in a controversial referendum held late in September. The region exports almost 600,000 barrels of oil per day, with the prospect of unrest raising the spectre of supply disruptions. On the production front, investors will focus on how OPEC deals with growing output from Nigeria and Libya. These two suppliers could pose a setback for the efforts made by the rest of the oil cartel, with investors hoping that OPEC will request production cuts to continue reducing global stockpiles. US crude futures were last seen around $51.52 a barrel, with charts revealing $51.00 per barrel as the key support zone. Any dip below could see the short-term trend turn bearish.