Oil rises in volatile trade amid CPC pipeline disruption

Oil prices rose in volatile trading on Wednesday, supported by disruption of Russian and Kazakh crude exports via the CPC pipeline.

Brent crude futures were up $3.13, or 2.7 per cent, at $118.61 a barrel at 1100 GMT.

Prices had earlier fallen to a low of $114.45.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $2.69, or 2.5 per cent, to $111.96 a barrel. The contract had earlier slipped to a low of $108.38.

The market remains on edge over the prospect of further sanctions on Russia, the world’s second-largest crude exporter, after its invasion of Ukraine, actions that Moscow calls a “special operation”.

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to announce more Russian sanctions when he meets with European leaders on Thursday in Brussels, including an emergency meeting of NATO. 

European Union member countries remain split on whether to ban imports of Russian crude and oil products which still continue to flow, but this might change once short-term contracts run out.

“Next up are Russian exports in April and there we see cancelled cargoes and problems for Russia to find buyers. India and China will buy but that won’t be enough to avoid declining Russian exports,” said SEB analyst BjarneSchieldrop.

Russia on Tuesday warned of a drop in oil exports via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) of up to one million barrels per day (bpd), or one per cent of global oil production, because of storm-damaged berths.

CPC exports stopped fully on Wednesday and repairs will take at least one and a half months, according to a port ship agent. 

Plunging crude stockpiles in the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer, also added to the apprehension around supply.

The latest data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group showed U.S. crude stocks fell by 4.3 million barrels for the week ended March 18, according to market sources.

Nine analysts polled by Reuters on average had estimated crude inventories rose by 100,000 barrels in the week to March 18.

Official U.S. inventory data is due from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday. -Reuters

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