Oil reaches new record high at $71

LONDON — U.S. crude oil prices hit $70 yesterday, the highest level for nearly eight months, as Iran’s pursuit of its nuclear programme heightened fears that the U.S. might take military action against the oil-producing nation.

By (Reuters)

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Tue 18 Apr 2006, 10:38 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:57 PM

U.S. light sweet crude was trading 13 cents higher at $69.45 by 1419GMT, off a session high of $70.

The session peak was the highest since Hurricane Katrina battered oil infrastructure along the U.S. Gulf Coast and drove U.S. crude to a record of $70.85 on August 30 last year.

London’s Brent crude on Monday rose 16 cents to $70.73 after touching a new record high of $71.40.

“The drama over Iran’s face-off with the West, the rise of insurgency in Nigeria and gasoline supply concerns in the U.S. ahead of the driving season are keeping a high floor under oil,” said Victor Shum at consultancy Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.

Fear of possible disruption of supplies from Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil exporter, have helped to drive the price of U.S. crude 20 per cent higher since mid-February. Another concern is the shut-in of more than 500,000 barrels per day in Opec producer Nigeria following militant unrest.

Royal Dutch Shell said yesterday it had yet to assess its offshore EA field, despite hopes a preparatory assessment would be made last week.

The review would be a step towards resuming production at the 115,000 barrels per day field, considered to be the easiest to restart of those that have been shut in. Analysts say the loss of high quality Nigerian crude will become more and more of an issue as the U.S. driving season, which begins in May, approaches.

“Light sweet crude is particularly sought after by refiners during the spring and summer as it provides a high yield of gasoline,” said Mike Wittner of Calyon. He added the Nigerian shortfall could not be made up for by Saudi Arabia whose spare capacity is heavy, sour and more difficult to process.

Ministers from Opec have said there is nothing more the group can do to calm the markets.

“On production there is nothing we can do. We are already producing at maximum output.” Qatar’s Oil Minister Abdullah Al Attiyah said.

More news from