LONDON: Oil prices rose as high as $60.65 a barrel on Friday after Iranian media said a state-owned oil tanker had been attacked in the Red Sea near Saudi Arabia, but bearish oil demand forecasts soon pulled crude off session highs.
The Iranian Suezmax crude tanker was struck in the Red Sea off Saudi Arabia’s coast on Friday, Iranian media said, with various reports differing on the level of damage caused.
The National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) said the ship was damaged but stable and denied initial reports it had been set ablaze.
Both oil benchmarks recorded their biggest daily rise since September 16, the first trading day after attacks on Saudi installations knocked out more than half of the kingdom’s crude output and temporarily pushed oil prices up by about 20%.
Friday’s initial boost from the Iranian news wore off as trading continued. Brent crude futures were up $0.73 at $59.83 a barrel by 1349 GMT and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $0.62 to $54.17.
Iranian oil exports are under US sanctions that have diminished Iran’s impact on the global supply picture.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2019.