Oil continues a fifth session of increases

(New York) Oil prices posted a fifth consecutive session of increases on Friday, still helped by a deterioration on several geopolitical fronts as well as by strong tensions on refined products, in particular diesel.

The price of a barrel of Brent from the North Sea for delivery in April rose 0.68%, to $82.19.

A barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) with delivery in March gained 0.81%, to $76.84.

For Sophie Lund-Yates, of Hargreaves Lansdown, the increase of more than 6% of the two reference varieties of black gold over the week is primarily due to “increased geopolitical tensions”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his army on Friday to prepare an “evacuation plan” for civilians from Rafah, before a possible offensive against this town in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Centers of unrest are also growing in several major crude producing countries.

Operators are particularly concerned about a possible reaction from Iran after the elimination, on Wednesday, in the middle of Baghdad, of a senior official of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah Brigades movement, Baqir al-Saadi, based in Iraq.

In Latin America, Venezuela posted light armored vehicles and warships on Friday in the border area with Guyana, a new episode in the dispute around the Guyanese region of Essequibo.

A possible attachment of this area to Venezuela, demanded by President Nicolas Maduro, would give it access to enormous oil reserves.

The situation is also deteriorating in Russia, where Ukrainian drones struck two refineries in the south of the country on Friday, triggering a major fire on one of the two sites, according to Reuters.

The series of Ukrainian attacks on Russian installations has significantly reduced, in recent days, the refining capacity of Russia, a major supplier of petroleum products for export.

This slowdown adds to the low rate of production at American refineries, whose utilization rate fell to 82.4% last week, the lowest in 13 months.

This is the result of the consequences of a cold front which disrupted the American production system at the beginning of January, but also of the refinery maintenance season, which traditionally occurs in February.

The picture was further darkened by the shutdown of the BP group refinery in Whiting (Indiana), following a massive power outage on 1er FEBRUARY. The operator does not plan to return to service for three weeks.

“Supply is constrained on diesel,” underlines Phil Flynn, of Price Futures Group. “Normally, at this time of year, we don’t worry about diesel stocks. But they have sunk so low that it is becoming a problem. »

The price of European diesel rose on Friday to its highest level in three and a half months.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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