Oil & Gas News

Middle East Crisis Could Disrupt Oil Supplies

Middle East, Oil

By: AP – Fifty years after the 1973 Arab oil embargo, the current crisis in the Middle East has the potential to disrupt global oil supplies and push prices higher. But don’t expect a repeat of the catastrophic price hikes and long lines at the gasoline pump, experts say.

The Israel-Hamas war is “definitely not good news” for oil markets already stretched by cutbacks in oil production from Saudi Arabia and Russia and expected stronger demand from China, the head of the International Energy Agency said.

Markets will remain volatile, and the conflict could push oil prices higher, “which is definitely bad news for inflation,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the Paris-based IEA, told The Associated Press. Developing countries that import oil and other fuels would be the most affected by higher prices, he said.

International benchmark Brent crude closed at $93 a barrel on Friday, up from $85 on Oct. 6, the day before Hamas attacked Israel, killing hundreds of civilians. Israel immediately launched airstrikes on Gaza, destroying entire neighborhoods and killing hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the days that followed.

Fluctuations since the attack pushed oil prices as high as $96.

The price of oil depends on how much of it is getting used and how much is available. The latter is under threat because of the Hamas-Israel war, even though the Gaza Strip is not home to major crude production.

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One worry is that the fighting could lead to complications with Iran, home of some of the world’s largest oil reserves. Its crude production has been constrained by international sanctions, but oil is still flowing to China and other countries.

“In order to get a sustained move (in prices), we really would need to see a supply disruption,” said Andrew Lipow, president at Lipow Oil Associates, a Houston-based consultant.

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