By Barani Krishnan
Slice Mag.com — Crude oil prices posted weekly gains in double digits, closing at their highest point in at least nine years after the White House said it was considering a ban on Russian oil imports, raising concerns among a market already hyped about sanctions on one of the world’s largest energy exporters.
The escalating war in Ukraine and the West’s retaliation with more financial penalties against Moscow further fueled Friday’s oil. Another catalyst was Saudi Arabia’s announcement of a record price increase for its crude oil.
The U.S. crude oil benchmark, or WTI, closed at $8.01, or 7.4%, at $115.68 a barrel, the highest closing price since 2008.
For the week, US crude was up about 26%, its biggest weekly gain since March 2020.
The global oil benchmark rose $7.65, or 6.9%, to $118.11 a barrel. For the week, Brent was up 21% for the biggest weekly gain since April 2020.
WTI is up about 54% since the start of the year and Brent about 52%. Crude’s rally this week saw a dramatic wave of concerns that a series of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine would seriously affect energy exports from Moscow, which supplies about 10% of the world’s oil needs and 40%. of Europe’s gas needs.
The White House said Friday it was considering banning Russian oil imports to increase the isolation of the Moscow world community over the war in Ukraine. However, no decision has yet been made on the matter, the company said.
Biden administration officials last week said they didn’t want to act hastily and ban Russia’s oil exports, which could dramatically increase energy prices for Americans who have already paid the most for fuel since the 2008 financial crisis.
Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco (SE:), meanwhile, announced its highest-ever increase in its official selling price, or OSP, to Asia, raising the premium for a barrel of Arab light crude, destined for delivery in April, by $4. 95 was increased from the Oman/Dubai average it uses as a base.
Aramco said the price of Arab light crude oil to the US would rise by $3.45 from April.
The lowest increase was in Northwest Europe, where the Arabian light crude oil premium rose $1.60 in April against Brent, which hovered at $114 a barrel.
“This is what you call naked exploitation,” said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge Again Capital, referring to Aramco’s record price hike. “We know it’s business. But at a time when the world is in a dire emergency due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the need for affordable and higher oil supplies is more than ever, we know we can count on the Saudis to kill us more than ever. .”
The price of crude oil fell on Thursday shortly after newspapers suggested solid progress would be made in talks between Iran and the world powers to reactivate Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal, which could free the Islamic Republic itself from US sanctions against his oil.
Iranian media quoted Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s chief negotiator in the nuclear talks, as saying an agreement would be reached in the coming days that would pave the way for the legitimate return of Tehran’s oil to the market.