Oil on Friday rallied to a three-week high and clinched a second straight weekly gain after Russia warned it might cut output by as much as 700,000 barrels per day in response to sanctions on the nation’s crude.
With trading volumes dwindling heading into the Christmas holiday, Russia’s threat outweighed the effects of a winter freeze sweeping across the US. The cold has halted one-third of refining capacity on the Texas gulf coast and as much as 350,000 barrels a day of crude output in North Dakota.
West Texas Intermediate for January delivery gained 2.67 percent to US$79.56, rising 7.09 percent from a week earlier.
Brent crude for February delivery rose 3.63 percent to US$83.92, up 6.17 percent for the week.
Gasoline futures also rose to the highest in three weeks following the refinery outages, although supply is in good shape: Gulf Coast gasoline stockpiles are at a record high for this time of year, and diesel inventories are above normal as well.
Crude is still on track for a modest yearly gain after a volatile year in which Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upended oil markets. The invasion led G7 countries to imposed a US$60 per barrel price cap on Russian crude in an effort to reduce the Kremlin’s income while keeping exports on the market.
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