International benchmark Brent crude jumped as much as 4.7% to $95 a barrel for the first time since 2014. Brent was up 23.68% and trading at $94.77 at 3 p.m. New York time Friday. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate, which normally trades below Brent in price, was up 4% to $93.50 a barrel at 3 p.m. in New York.
The price increases came as Biden Administration National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the United States believes Russia could take offensive military action or attempt to spark a conflict inside Ukraine as early as next week. The U.K. Foreign Office said it had advised all British nationals to leave Ukraine, and South Korea issued a ban on travel to the country and an advisory that citizens should depart.
OPEC said yesterday that the rebound in oil consumption could surpass its forecasts this year as economic activity improves and travel activity increases. OPEÇ+ had had trouble increasing production despite decisions by the organization to do so.
Hanging over the oil price rally, however, is the possibility- as unlikely as it is–of an Iran nuclear deal that would lift sanctions on the export of Iranian oil.
And that has left investors expecting a near-term increase in oil prices but with fears of drop in prices on even seeming progress in the talks.
For example, Bank of America said its expectation that Brent will hit $120 a barrel by the middle of the year is contingent on the course of the Iranian nuclear negotiations.
Oil stocks are up solidly today with ConocoPhillips (COP), for example, showing a gain of 2.06% as of 3 p.m. in New York.