Oil up on tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman

OPEC cuts 2019 oil demand growth forecast


Oil prices jumped as much as 4 percent on Thursday after a suspected attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of global oil consumption passes. The two tankers, the Marshal Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous, have been evacuated and the crews were safe, shipping sources said. The Front Altair is carrying naphtha and the Kokuka Courageous methanol. The charterer of the former said the vessel was suspected of being hit by a torpedo. The manager of the latter said it had been damaged as a result of a suspected attack but that its cargo was still intact. The incident followed last month’s nearby sabotage attacks on vessels off the Fujairah emirate, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs. Brent crude futures were up $1.72 at $61.69 a barrel by 0757 GMT, having risen earlier by as much as 4.45 percent to $62.64. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up $1.32 at $52.46 a barrel. WTI earlier rose as much as 3.85 percent to $53.11. Both benchmarks are nevertheless headed for a weekly loss. Oil prices had slumped in the previous session on an unexpected rise in US crude stockpiles and a dimming outlook for global oil demand. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, part of the Royal Navy, said on Thursday that it was aware of an incident in the Gulf of Oman, near the Iranian coast. UK and its partners are currently investigating, it said. Meanwhile OPEC on Thursday cut its forecast for growth in global oil demand due to escalating trade disputes and pointed to the risk of a further reduction, building a case for prolonged supply restraint in the rest of 2019. — VoM

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