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Oil Ends Week With a Slump Despite Russia Pipeline Outage


Apr 26, 2019, by Sharon Cho and Alex Longley
(Bloomberg)

Oil fell, paring an eighth weekly advance, even as supplies stopped flowing through a major Russian pipeline to Europe.

Futures in New York lost as much as 1.4 percent, while Brent also fell. Futures in London had spiked briefly above $75 a barrel on Thursday as Russian flows were halted after customers complained of impurities. Prices have since failed to extend gains as investors wait to see how long the outage will last.

Oil has climbed more than 40 percent this year amid output cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies and disruptions from Venezuela to Libya. It’s also had a boost from the recent U.S. decision to end waivers on Iranian sanctions. It remains unclear to what extent Saudi Arabia and other nations will pump more to make up for lost barrels. The kingdom said this week it sees no need to take immediate action.

“The current market fundamentals are undoubtedly supportive but we have traveled a long way on the back of speculation about what happens next,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank A/S. “At this stage it might be the time to pause and wait and see what actually happens.”

West Texas Intermediate for June delivery fell as much as 94 cents, and was down 77 cents at $64.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 10:22 a.m. London time. The contract closed down 1 percent on Thursday but is up more than 40 cents this week. The last time WTI rallied for more than eight consecutive weeks was in May 2015.

Brent for June settlement was down 91 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $73.44 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract rose as high as $75.60 on Thursday before closing down 0.3 percent. The global benchmark crude was at a premium of $9.06 to WTI on Friday.

Brent’s spike on Thursday followed a move by Poland, which receives oil through a section of the giant Druzhba pipeline, to stop Russian imports, saying shipments had become contaminated by organic chlorides. Amid the disruption, oil traders are scrambling to find replacement cargoes for buyers across Europe.

Other oil-market news: The biggest threat to President Donald Trump’s hopes for low gasoline prices is his growing entanglement in the politics of OPEC nations. Turkey is trying to convince the U.S. on Iran sanctions, with the nation’s refiner Tupras “following the issue closely,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in Ankara.



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