West Texas Intermediate headed for a second weekly gain amid shrinking stockpiles at the U.S. oil storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma. Brent was also poised for a weekly increase as Libyan supply disruptions continued.
Futures rose as much 0.6 percent in New York after climbing 1 percent yesterday to the highest close since March 7. Supplies at Cushing, the delivery point for WTI contracts, fell to a two-year low, government data showed this week. U.S. President Barack Obama said sanctions on Russia over its action in Ukraine may include measures against the country’s energy industry.
“The continued sizable reduction in Cushing inventories has really been a theme this week,” Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank in Copenhagen, said by phone. “Brent has been supported by continued supply disruptions” including oil theft in Nigeria and unrest in Libya, he said.
WTI for May delivery rose as much as 60 cents to $101.88 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $101.67 at 12:23 p.m. London time. The contract gained $1.02 to $101.28 yesterday. The volume of all futures traded was about 26 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. Prices have gained 2.2 percent this week and 3.3 percent this quarter.
Brent for May settlement rose 22 cents to $108.05 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices are up 1.1 percent this week and down 2.5 percent this quarter. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $6.32 to WTI on ICE, after ending the session at $6.55 yesterday.
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