The price of oil has risen following rising tensions in the Middle East

Gas burns off at the al-Shuaiba oil refinery in southwest Basra, Iraq April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Oil futures rose on Monday amid growing concerns over supply disruptions in the Middle East, as investors and traders worried about global economic growth prospects as a result deadlock in Sino-US trade talks, Reuters reported.

Brent futures were at $ 71.71 per barrel at 9:12 am GMT, up $ 1.09. While the WTI (West Texas Intermediate) futures price in the United States was $ 62.45 per barrel, up 79 cents.

According to Abhishek Kumar, an analyst with Interfax Energy in London, growing tensions in the Middle East as well as the sharp decline in oil supply from Venezuela and Iran continue to contribute to higher oil prices.

Saudi Arabia said on Monday (May 13th) that two Saudi oil companies were among the vessels targeted by a “sabotage attack” off the UAE, calling it an attempt to undermine the security of the world’s crude supply.

The United Arab Emirates announced on Sunday that four merchant ships had been attacked near Fujairah, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs. The port is located near the Strait of Hormuz, one of the most important waterways of oil export in the world.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry reacted by calling the incidents “disturbing and appalling” and calling for an investigation.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are respectively the largest and third largest producers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

“The information published Sunday on the explosions in Fujairah is likely to give additional impetus to a potentially increasing risk premium in the region, with initial reports suggesting that tankers were specifically targeted for apparent sabotage,” said the consulting firm.

The markets have indeed reacted negatively to Washington’s demands to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero and reduce Venezuela’s exports.

The United States imposed new sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Trade friction between Washington and China that intensified last week should limit prices, Kumar said.

Data from the International Energy Agency revealed that the United States and China together accounted for 34% of world oil consumption in the first quarter of 2019.

In addition, an early indicator of future production shows that US energy companies reduced the number of drilling rigs in operation for the third time in four weeks.


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