Oil prices rise on tighter US market, Middle East tensions

A photo taken on October 17, 2017 shows excess flammable gasses burning from gas flares at the Havana oil field, west of the multi-ethnic northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2017
0

Oil prices rise on tighter US market, Middle East tensions

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Wednesday, lifted by a fall in US crude inventories and concerns that tensions in the Middle East could disrupt supplies.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $58.27 at 0131 GMT, up 39 cents, or 0.7 percent from their last close — and a third above mid-year levels.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52.08 per barrel, up 20 cents, or 0.4 percent and almost a quarter above mid-June levels.
Traders said that prices were pushed up by a drop in US crude inventories as well as concerns that fighting in Iraq and mounting tensions between the United States and Iran could affect supplies.
US crude inventories fell by 7.1 million barrels in the week to Oct. 13 to 461.4 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said late on Tuesday.
“API data from the US overnight showed a big draw...If $52.83 in WTI and $59.22 in Brent give way, then oil is stepping into a new and much higher range,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.
Official US fuel inventory data is due to be published later on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.
Adding to a tightening US market, tensions in the Middle East meant that a risk premium was being priced into oil markets.
Iraqi government forces captured the major Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk earlier this week, responding to a Kurdish independence referendum, and there are concerns that fighting could disrupt supplies.
“In the case of Kurdistan, the 500,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Kirkuk oil field cluster is at risk,” US bank Goldman Sachs said on Tuesday.
The Iraq crisis adds to a looming dispute between the United States and Iran. Last Friday US President Donald Trump last week refused to certify Iran’s compliance over a nuclear deal, leaving Congress 60 days to decide further action against Tehran.
During the previous round of sanctions against Iran, some 1 million bpd of oil was cut from global markets.


Scottish government wins fracking case against energy giant Ineos

Updated 19 June 2018
0

Scottish government wins fracking case against energy giant Ineos

  • The devolved government said a moratorium on fracking was in place
  • neos had argued that the ban was imposed unlawfully

EDINBURGH: Scotland’s highest court has ruled in favor of a government ban on fracking which had been challenged by energy giant Ineos, the Scottish government said on Tuesday.
“This decision vindicates the extensive process of research and consultation which the Scottish government has undertaken since 2015,” Scottish business minister Paul Wheelhouse said in a statement. “Our preferred position is not to support unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland (fracking), and that position remains unchanged.”
The devolved government said a moratorium on fracking — gas extraction via hydraulic fracturing of the ground — was in place. That meant no local authority could grant planning permission until an impact assessment process had been carried out.
Ineos had argued that the ban was imposed unlawfully, and that it contradicted evidence that shale gas could be produced safely by unconventional methods.
Scotland decided to outlaw fracking in October after a public consultation found overwhelming opposition to it.