Crude oil was little changed near a six-month high in New York amid heightened concerns about a possible disruption to oil shipments due to a stand-off between the UK and Iran over the capture of British naval personnel.
Iranian state TV on Sunday aired fresh film footage of the 15 British captives standing separately in front of an Iranian map of the Gulf region, describing how and where they were detained, BBC said. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Western powers of behaving in an “arrogant” way over the seizure of the sailors and marines.
Andrew Harrington, a commodities analyst at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd in Sydney, said: “There’s not much more sabre-rattling that can be done. Almost all the imaginable scenarios are probably going to be pushing the oil price higher.”
Crude oil for May delivery was at $65.78 (Rs2454.32) a barrel, down nine cents, in after-hours trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
On 30 March, the contract fell 16 cents, or 0.2% after closing the previous day at $66.03, the highest since 8 September. Prices rose 5.8% last week and 7.9% in the first quarter.
Iran has the second-biggest proved oil reserves and is the second-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Almost a quarter of the world’s oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway between Iran and Oman at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
Iran says the British vessels had entered half a kilometre inside its territorial waters. The UK rejects the claim, saying the boats were 1.7 nautical miles (3.1kms) inside Iraqi waters when they were seized.