RIYADH: Oil drifted lower on Tuesday as more than a week of banking turmoil kept weighing on market confidence.
Brent crude futures for May settlement dropped 84 cents, or 1.14 percent, trading at $72.95 per barrel at 11.00 a.m. Saudi time.
US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 56 cents, or 0.83 percent, to $67.08 a barrel.
In the previous session, both Brent and WTI fell about $3 a barrel before settling higher. That followed Swiss bank UBS throwing a lifeline to Credit Suisse and major central banks saying they would enhance market liquidity and support the banking system.
Venezuela’s Maduro accepts resignation of oil minister El Aissami
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on Monday accepted the resignation of the country’s oil minister Tareck El Aissami, following the detention of at least six high-level officials amid a corruption probe focused on state-run company PDVSA and the judiciary.
El Aissami had said earlier on Monday on Twitter he would resign to fully support the investigations. The probe especially touches PDVSA, which is supervised by the oil ministry.
Maduro did not immediately name a replacement for El Aissami, who has served as vice president, and as a minister and mayor over the past two decades.
Brazil environment agency asks for more info from Petrobras
Brazil’s environmental regulator Ibama has asked Petrobras for additional information on its plan to drill at the mouth of the Amazon river before authorizing the company to test its emergency oil spill response, the agency’s president told Reuters.
Ibama has not defined a test date because Petrobras did not deliver all of the documents required, but it will be scheduled as soon as the company provides the information, the agency’s president Rodrigo Agostinho said.
Petrobas views the mouth of the Amazon as the newest and most important frontier for oil exploration in Brazil and the company planned the test to assess its response in the event of a major spill.
The company has been working for years to open up a new exploration frontier in a region close to Guyana, where Exxon Mobil has made important discoveries and many wells were drilled.
Later on Monday, Petrobras said it had just filed details and responses to Ibama’s demands.
“After analysis and agreement by the environmental agency, the date for carrying out the pre-operational assessment may be defined together with Ibama,” the company said in a statement.
The area was auctioned in 2013 and Petrobras has planned to explore there for years after BP and TotalEnergies gave up on their assets, even after investing in studies, because of difficulties in obtaining drilling licenses.
Iran counts on ‘huge volumes’ of oil and gas swaps from Russia
Iran counts on “huge volumes” of oil and gas swaps from Russia this year, Iranian Economy Minister Ehsan Khandouzi said in an interview with Russia’s RIA state news agency.
“This year will witness huge volumes of swap supplies. We are very pleased that Tehran and Moscow have started cooperation on the issue of swap supplies of oil and gas,” Khandouzi was cited as saying.
There were no details on what volumes of oil and gas Iran is expecting.
(With input from Reuters)