Oil up on rising Middle East tension

Brent crude futures at $72.16 a barrel, up 39 cents

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LONDON/NEW YORK/ TOKYO

Oil prices rose on Thursday for a third straight session, as the risk of conflict in the Middle East stoked fears of supply disruptions, negating an unexpected rise in US inventories. Brent crude futures were at $72.16 a barrel at 0349 GMT, up 39 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last close. Brent closed up 0.7 percent on Wednesday.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62.41 per barrel, up 39 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their previous settlement. WTI closed up 0.4 percent in the last session. Analysts said oil was drawing support from heightened tensions in the Middle East, with helicopters carrying US staff from the American embassy in Baghdad on Wednesday out of apparent concern about perceived threats from Iran

Crude oil prices opened with gains, as the attack on two Saudi oil-pumping stations and tankers continues to raise concerns of possible supply disruptions in the region. International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $72.43 per barrel at 0618 GMT with a 0.37% gain after it closed Wednesday at $72.16 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas International was trading at $62.42 a barrel at the same time.

A drone attacked two oil-pumping stations in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, provoking concerns over secure crude supply from the region.

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