Oil rises on Iran sanctions threat, Venezuela shutdown
Oil prices rose to fresh highs for the year on Tuesday, after a U.S. official said Washington is considering more sanctions on Iran and a key Venezuelan export terminal halted operations.
Price were also underpinned by a Reuters survey showing OPEC oil supply sank to a four-year low in March, and positive data from the world’s biggest economies, the United States and China.
Brent crude rose 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $69.27 a barrel by 0025 GMT, having earlier touched $69.29, a new high for 2019.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose 28 cents, or 0.5 percent to $61.87 a barrel, earlier reaching $61.89, also a new high for 2019. WTI closed up 2.4 percent on Monday.
The U.S. government is considering additional sanctions against Iran that would target areas of its economy that have not been hit before, a senior Trump administration official told reporters on Monday.
The official also suggested that the U.S. may not extend waivers from sanctions on Iranian oil exports to a group of eight importers that expire next month.
“That, I think, is where we’re headed,” the official said.
Venezuela’s Jose crude export terminal has halted operations due to a lack of electricity supply, two sources with knowledge of the situation said, after restarting on Friday following a prolonged blackout.
Production cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) helped push the group’s supply to a four-year low in March, a Reuters survey found.
The world’s biggest exporter, Saudi Arabia, over-delivered on the group’s supply-cutting pact while Venezuelan output fell further due to U.S. sanctions and earlier power outages.
Markets also rallied on Monday after upbeat economic numbers from the United States and China eased worries about slowing global growth.