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Brent oil rises for second day after Middle East tanker attacks

Brent oil rises for second day after Middle East tanker attacks

2019/06/14 | 15:10

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)- Brent crude on Friday extended sharp gains from the previous

day following attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman that stoked

concerns of reduced crude flows of the commodity through one of the world’s key

shipping routes.The attacks near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz pushed oil

prices up as much as 4.5% on Thursday, putting the brakes on a slide in prices

in recent weeks over concerns about global demand.It was the second time in a month tankers have been attacked

in the world’s most important zone for oil supplies, amid rising tensions

between the United States and Iran. Washington quickly blamed Iran for

Thursday’s attacks, but Tehran denied the allegation.Brent crude futures were up 23 cents, or 0.4%, at $61.54 a

barrel by 0638 GMT, having settled up 2.2% on Thursday. Still, the contract is

heading for a weekly fall of nearly 3%, a fourth week of decline.US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 1 cent at

$52.27 a barrel, after earlier rising. WTI also closed up 2.2% in the previous

session, but is on course for a weekly decline of 3.2%.“The events in the Gulf would now appear to have taken on an

overt military dimension and we are waiting to see what action the US Fifth

Fleet and other military resources in the region may take,” said Tom

O’Sullivan, founder of energy and security consultancy Mathyos Advisory.Tensions in the Middle East have escalated since US

President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 multinational nuclear pact with

Iran and reimposed sanctions, especially targeting Tehran’s oil exports.Iran, which has distanced itself from the previous attacks,

has said it would not be cowed by what it called psychological warfare.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States has

assessed Iran was behind the attacks on Thursday.The US military later released a video that it said showed

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded mine from the side of a

Japanese-owned oil tanker.In a statement on Thursday evening, the Iranian mission to

the United Nations said Tehran “categorically rejects the US unfounded claim

with regard to 13 June oil tanker incidents and condemns it in the strongest

possible terms”.Qatar called for an international investigation into the

attacks and a de-escalation of tensions in the region.On the demand side, OPEC on Thursday cut its forecast for

growth in global oil demand due to trade disputes and pointed to the risk of a

further reduction, building a case for prolonged supply restraint in the rest

of 2019.The producer group and its allies are due to meet in the

coming weeks to decide whether to maintain supply curbs. Some members are

worried about a steep slide in prices, despite demands from US President Donald

Trump for action to lower the cost of oil.World oil demand will rise by 1.14 million barrels per day

(bpd) this year, 70,000 bpd less than previously expected, the Organization of

the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in a monthly report published on

Thursday.“Throughout the first half of this year, ongoing global trade

tensions have escalated,” OPEC said in the report. “Significant downside risks

from escalating trade disputes spilling over to global demand growth remain.”











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