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Oil prices at one-week highs

LONDON, February 19, 2018 – Crude oil prices continued to hover at more than one-week highs on Monday, supported by tensions in the Middle East and global supply cut efforts, although concerns over rising U.S. production persisted.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude April contract was up 47 cents or about 0.76% at $62.02 a barrel by 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT), the highest since February 7.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for April delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London gained 39 cents or about 0.60% to $62.53 a barrel, the highest since February 8.

Oil prices strengthened after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just its allies in the Middle East, following border incidents in Syria.

 

The commodity also remained supported after United Arab Emirates energy minister Suhail al-Mazroui said last week that oil producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia aim to draft an agreement on a long-term alliance to cut output by the end of this year.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, agreed in December to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

However fears that rising U.S. output could dampen OPEC’s efforts to rid the market of excess supplies have systematically limited oil prices’ gains recently.

General Electric (NYSE:GE)’s Baker Hughes unit reported on Friday that the U.S. oil rig count rose by 7 to 798 last week, its highest since April 2015.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures climbed 0.54% to $1.760 a gallon, while natural gas futures advanced 0.94% to $2.582 per million British thermal units.

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