Commodities News

Oil Up, Fears of Russian Supply Disruption Outweigh Potential Iranian Supply

By Gina Lee – Oil was up on Friday morning in Asia, rebounding as fears of a disruption in Russian oil exports eclipsed the potential revival of an Iranian nuclear deal and more supply.

Brent oil futures rose 1.51% to $112.13 by 11:15 PM ET (4:15 AM GMT). WTI futures jumped 1.9% to $109.72after hitting a high of $112.84 earlier in the session.

Oil prices have been on an upward trend recently and rose again over signs that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is intensifying. In the latest development, Russia attacked the Zaporizhzhia power plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine, which is reportedly on fire.

The West slapped sanctions on Russia after it invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24, and fears that they could disrupt oil shipments from Russia also contributed to rising oil prices. Trading activity for Russian crude oil already appears frozen, with buyers hesitant thanks to the sanctions. Russia is the world’s biggest exporter of crude and oil products combined.

“Price gains linked to actual and perceived disruptions to Russian oil exports should more than offset any fall in prices from potentially more Iranian crude oil supply,” Commonwealth Bank Of Australia analyst Vivek Dhar told Reuters.

Although prices swung in a $10 range on Thursday, they settled lower for the first time in four sessions as investors focused on the revival of an Iranian nuclear deal that could boost Iranian oil exports and ease tightening supplies.

The black liquid is set to post its strongest weekly gains since mid-2020, with WTI futures up more than 22% and Brent futures at 16% after hitting their highest level in a decade earlier in the week.

Commonwealth Bank’s Dhar expects Brent futures to average $110 a barrel in the second and third quarters of 2022. But “the risk is that prices rise above our forecast in the short term. It’s even plausible that Brent futures trade as high as” $150, he said

Meanwhile, talks to revive a 2015 Iran nuclear deal appeared to be near a climax. A ministerial meeting could reportedly take place soon, and a U.N. report on Thursday showed Iran has almost amassing enough enriched uranium for one bomb if purified further.

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