Singapore: Oil prices have risen in Asian trade, gaining support from Iran’s test of a missile that could hit Israel, dealers said.
New York’s main oil contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, rose 63 cents to $136.68 a barrel after closing a penny higher at 136.05 on Wednesday at the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent North Sea oil for August gained 51 cents to 137.09 after rising 15 cents to 136.58 Wednesday in London.
Prices have soared since breaking through $100 at the start of the year, but are down about $10 from record peaks near $147 last week.
“I believe this market is not over yet,” said Ken Hasegawa, manager of the energy desk at Newedge Japan brokerage in Tokyo. He said the market was on the way to $150 a barrel but should hold between $130 and $140 while tensions simmer in the Middle East.
Iran, the world’s fourth-largest crude producer, on Wednesday test-fired a missile it said is capable of reaching Israel, angering the United States amid growing fears that a standoff over Iran’s nuclear drive could lead to war.
Leaders of Group of Eight major industrial nations have pledged to improve transparency and the supply and demand balance in the oil market by boosting dialogue between producing and consuming nations. The comments had little impact on the oil market, Hasegawa said.
The US Department of Energy, in its weekly report, said American crude reserves fell 5.9 million barrels in the week to J4uly, beyond the expected drop of 2.1 million barrels.
In another supply development, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell said it lifted its force majeure provision on production of 225,000 barrels per day from its offshore Bonga oilfield in major African producer Nigeria.