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From the Field

Oil continues to rise on Middle East tension

LONDON, May 17, 2019 – Oil prices rose on Friday in Asia and extended gains into a fourth straight day amid intensifying Middle East tensions.

US Crude Oil WTI Futures rose 0.3% to $63.06 by 1:15 AM ET (05:15 GMT). International Brent Oil Futures also gained 0.3% to $72.81.

The gain in oil prices today came after Saudi Arabia’s vice-minister of defence and brother of the country’s de facto ruler Khalid bin Salman said on Twitter that a drone attack on Tuesday was ordered by Iran.

 

The report raised concerns that the world’s largest oil-producing region is edging toward another war and boosted oil prices higher.

Earlier on Sunday, the Saudis said two of their oil tankers were damaged in attacks carried out on the vessels while they were on the Persian Gulf.

Iran, under US sanctions that prevent its oil from being sold anywhere in the world, has openly warned the other oil producers in the Middle East as well as the US in recent weeks of “consequences” for their actions.

“Anyone who knows the Middle East knows that there are plenty of tripwires and the risk of escalation is always there,” said Tamar Essner, director for energy at Nasdaq Corporate Solutions in New York. “With every attack that goes off, the risk and the stakes go higher.”

US President Donald Trump has told his top advisers he does not want to get the US involved in a war with Iran, Reuters reported on Thursday citing three US officials.

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