Brent crude hit a nine-month high near $115 a barrel Thursday, with U.S. crude ending moderately higher, amid concerns that ongoing violence in Iraq could limit oil supply from OPEC’s second-biggest producer.
Government forces battled Sunni militants for control of Iraq’s biggest refinery as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki waited for a U.S. response to an appeal for air strikes to beat back the threat to Baghdad.
The Baiji refinery, 200 km (130 miles) north of the Iraqi capital near Tikrit, remained under siege as troops loyal to the Shi’ite-led government held off insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and its allies who had stormed the perimeter, threatening national energy supplies. If the 300,000 barrels per day refinery stays closed, Baghdad will need to import more oil products to meet its own domestic consumption, further tightening oil markets.
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