Kirkuk violence lends crude support

LONDON, October 17, 2017 – Crude oil prices remained supported on Tuesday, as escalating violence between Iraqi troops and Kurdish forces near Kirkuk sparked concerns over potential supply disruptions in the region, while investors eyed upcoming U.S. inventory data.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude November contract was up 15 cents or about 0.29% at $52.02 a barrel by 09:00 a.m. ET (13:00 GMT),just off the previous session’s two-week high of $52.37.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for December delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London was up 34 cents or about 0.61% at $58.17 a barrel, close to Monday’s more than two-week peak of $58.47.


Fighting near Kirkuk began following a referendum in which the Kurds, who run their own semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq, voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence last month, defying Baghdad, regional powers and the U.S.

Meanwghile, investors were eyeing weekly data from the U.S. on stockpiles of crude and refined products to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.

Industry group the American Petroleum Institute is due to release its weekly report at 4:30 p.m. ET (20:30 GMT) Tuesday.

Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday, amid forecasts for an oil-stock drop of around 4.7 million barrels, which would mark the fourth weekly decline in a row.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures were up 0.33% at $1.625 a gallon, while natural gas futures rallied 1.93% to $3.003 per million British thermal units.

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