Source AP ©

Crude oil hovers around 64 USD a barrel on heightened Iran tensions

Oil prices dipped below US$64 a barrel Thursday amid heightened tension in the Mideast as Iran's detention of 15 British navy personnel approached the one-week mark.

Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, is located along the Strait of Hormuz, through which about two-fifths of the world's oil is transported. Traders worry that oil supplies could be disrupted if unrest escalates there.

In electronic trading in Singapore Thursday, light, sweet crude for May delivery fell 8 cents to US$64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract closed at US$64.08 a barrel Wednesday, its highest close since September.

Oil spiking briefly above US$68 a barrel in after-hours trading Tuesday on a rumors - denied by the U.S. military - that Iran had fired on a U.S. ship in the Persian Gulf.

"The hypersensitivity to the geopolitical situation is setting the market up for vastly increased volatility ahead," said Fimat USA analyst John Kilduff.

Iranian authorities have detained the British marines and sailors since last Friday on claims they had trespassed into Iranian territory. Britain maintains they were in Iraqi waters.

On Wednesday, Iran's foreign minister said Britain must admit the 15 entered Iranian waters in order to resolve a standoff over their capture.

Also buoying prices were the weekly petroleum supplies report from the United States. The Energy Department reported Wednesday that crude oil inventories slipped by 900,000 barrels last week to 328.4 million barrels. Stocks of gasoline and distillate fuel, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, also fell.

It was gasoline's seventh straight week of decline, a worrisome signal ahead of the summer driving season.

But traders remained focused on developments in Iran.

"The spike showed people what could happen if tensions do increase," said Eric Wittenauer, an energy analyst at A.G. Edwards in St. Louis.

In other key contracts, gasoline for April delivery stood at US$2.0590 a gallon, edging up again after closing at its first decline in five days. Heating oil meanwhile, was flat at U$1.8215 per gallon (3.8 liters).

More than 5.8 million people voted for Nicholas Maduro at the presidential election in Venezuela. This is more than a quarter of registered voters. Why did those people vote for the man, who, as Western media write, took Venezuela to the brink of collapse?

Venezuela may expect another Panama scenario from 1989
Comments
Ukraine's exit from Commonwealth of Independent States will affect common Ukrainians most
USA sanctions Russian oligarchs and heads of state-run companies
USA sanctions Russian oligarchs and heads of state-run companies
USA sanctions Russian oligarchs and heads of state-run companies
Ukraine's exit from Commonwealth of Independent States will affect common Ukrainians most
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
Ukraine's exit from Commonwealth of Independent States will affect common Ukrainians most
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
British football fans spineless to unleash World War Three in Russia during World Cup
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
British football fans spineless to unleash World War Three in Russia during World Cup
Beautiful and terrifying: Russia shows video of Bulava ICBM underwater salvo launch
Kremlin on failed nuclear missile tests: 'Listen to President Putin and believe him!'
Kremlin wants foreign invaders out of Syria
Kremlin on failed nuclear missile tests: 'Listen to President Putin and believe him!'
What may happen to foreign tourists traveling for 2018 World Cup in Russia
Kremlin on failed nuclear missile tests: 'Listen to President Putin and believe him!'
Russian special services detain Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Crimea
Russian special services detain Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Crimea