RIYADH: Oil prices plunged about 5 percent to an eight-month low on Friday as the US dollar hit its strongest level in more than two decades and on fears rising interest rates will tip major economies into recession, cutting demand for oil.
Brent futures fell $4.31, or 4.8 percent, to settle at $86.15 a barrel, down about 6 percent for the week. US West Texas Intermediate crude fell $4.75, or 5.7 percent, to settle at $78.74, down about 7 percent for the week.
It was the fourth straight week of declines for both benchmarks, the first time this has happened since December. Both were in technically oversold territory, with WTI on track for its lowest settlement since Jan. 10 and Brent for its lowest since Jan. 14.
Exxon halts activity at Texas oilfield site following worker fatality
Exxon Mobil temporarily halted maintenance at an East Texas oil drilling facility after a fatality this week, which was at least the second death this year of a contractor at one of its Texas production sites.
The incident occurred on Tuesday near Hawkins, about 110 miles east of Dallas. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office said.
The name of the worker, an employee of Axis Energy Services, was not immediately available. The death was ruled accidental, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.
Argentina’s oil workers end strike after inking safety deal
Unions representing thousands of striking Argentine oil workers called off a strike on Friday afternoon that they began the day before after a meeting with business leaders ended in a deal on greater safety measures and training for employees.
The workers launched the strike on Thursday after a fire in a storage tank caused an explosion at the New American Oil refinery in the town of Plaza Huincul in western Neuquen province.
The blast left three dead and one injured.
Union leaders, representatives of oil companies, and local government officials signed a deal designed to improve “training programs and prepare active personnel and future workers on issues of on-the-job safety.”
The deal also requires spending to ensure compliance with regulations, according to a copy of the deal released by one of the unions.
Swiss to release petrol, diesel, heating oil stocks from Oct. 3
The Swiss government will release petrol, diesel, heating oil and kerosene from its strategic reserves from Oct. 3 to ensure the supply of oil products to the domestic economy, it said on Friday.
It cited limited freight capacities on the Rhine river and logistical problems with foreign rail transport for a lack of conventional supply.
The government has already effectively released fuel reserves twice this year by allowing companies required to contribute to them to underfill by almost 20 percent.
Strategic reserves, or compulsory stocks, for petrol, diesel, and heating oil cover around four and half months of normal consumption. In the case of kerosene, reserves suffice for around three months, the government said in a statement.
The ordinance releasing stocks will remain in force “for as long as the situation absolutely requires,” it said.
Compulsory stocks of petroleum products were last released in 2005, 2010 and 2019.
(With input from Reuters)