Oil breaches $91 in Asian trade

Oil breaches $91 in Asian trade

Singapore: Oil briefly topped $91 in Asian trade Friday on rising tensions in the Middle East following Turkey’s military threat against Kurdish rebels in Iraq and new US sanctions on Iran, dealers said.

At 10:00 am (0200 GMT) New York’s main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, was up 42 cents to $90.88 a barrel from its close of $90.46 in late US trades.

It earlier touched a new all-time intra-day high of $91.10, they said.

Brent North Sea crude for December was up 52 cents to $88, also breaking records set in London overnight.

Oil prices are “being supported by an increase in geopolitical tensions and also market developments," Australia’s Commonwealth Bank said in a market commentary.

“The US has announced that it is imposing new sanctions on Iran," it said. “Oil markets also continued to have an eye on developments related to the current tensions between Turkey and Kurd rebels in Iraq," it said.

On Thursday, Turkish leaders lent extra weight to their threat of a military incursion against Kurdish separatists holed up in northern Iraq.

Many of Iraq’s oilfields are located in the north and any conflict with Turkey could disrupt supplies, analysts said.

Commonwealth Bank said the market was also reacting to a sharp decline in US energy inventories last week which came ahead of the northern hemisphere winter, when demand for heating fuel peaks.

US energy supplies are closely monitored because the United States is the world’s biggest energy consumer.