Oil prices rise on stockpile release

Iraqi laborers work at the Halfaya oil field near the southern city of Amara in Iraq’s southern Maysan province on December 12, 2009. (AFP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Oil prices rose on Friday but were set to drop around 3% for the week as consuming countries’ planned release of 240 million barrels from emergency stocks offset some concerns over reduced supplies from Russia because of western sanctions.

Brent crude futures advanced by 18 cents to $100.8 a barrel at 0758 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 37 cents to $96.40 a barrel.

Both contracts are set to fall for a second week, with Brent set to drop 3.4% while WTI is set to decline 2.8%, according to Reuters.

Reuters cited analysts as saying that the emergency oil release, amounting to about 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from May to the end of the year, might cap price rises in the short term, but would not fully cover volumes lost if more countries impose sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation”.

Member nations of the International Energy Agency will release 60 million barrels combined over the next six month with United States matching that amount as part of its 180 million barrel release announced in March.

“Although this is the biggest release since the stockpile was created in 1980, it will fail to ultimately change the fundamentals in the oil market. It is likely to delay further increases in output from key producers,” Reuters quoted ANZ Research analysts as saying.

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