Commodities News

Oil Up, Investors Weigh US-Led Crude Release Against Russian Sanctions

By Gina Lee – Oil was up on Tuesday morning in Asia, after a jittery start to the week. Investors are weighing the U.S.-led coordinated international release of crude inventories against supply disruptions as sanctions imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine during the previous week start to bite.

Brent oil futures rose 0.80% to $98.75 by 10:58 PM ET (3:58 AM GMT), after rolling over to the May Brent crude futures contract on Feb. 28. WTI futures rose 0.83% to $96.51, after hitting a high of $99.10 a barrel the previous day and settling up more than 4%.

Investors remain concerned about a tighter market as major oil and gas companies, including BP PLC and Shell PLC, announced plans to exit Russian operations and joint ventures. The West’s sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine means that buyers of Russian oil are also facing difficulty over payments and vessel availability.

The coordinated release of crude stocks by the U.S. and allies to minimize supply disruption helped calm markets somewhat.

The release could reportedly be anywhere to between 60 and 70 million barrels, and “that likely release is capping oil price rises for now,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia analysts said in a note.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) will hold an extraordinary ministerial meeting later in the day to discuss how its members could help stabilize oil markets. Russia is one of the world’s top oil exporters.

Meanwhile, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies (OPEC+) will meet on Wednesday and are expected to maintain a gradual increase in supplies. Russia is an OPEC+ member.

Investors also await U.S. crude oil supply data from the American Petroleum Institute, due later in the day.Oil Up, Investors Weigh US-Led Crude Release Against Russian Sanctions

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