Brent crude price hits six-month high

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World oil prices were mixed Tuesday, with Brent hitting a six-month high above $117 Tuesday on fears of supply disruptions as the New York contract fell due to abundant US energy supplies, analysts said.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March rose to $117.10 a barrel, the highest level since early August. It later stood at $116.19 in London afternoon deals, up 26 cents compared with Monday’s close.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for March, fell 25 cents to $96.66.

“The price of WTI is being dampened by a supply surplus on the US market due mainly to the growing supply of shale oil from the Bakken shale oil reserves in North Dakota and the Canadian oil sand fields,” said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

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“Brent, by contrast, is profiting from supply risks. The rebels in Nigeria have threatened further attacks on oil production facilities in the Niger Delta. In January, Nigeria was the largest African oil producer, with a production volume of 2.14 million barrels per day.

“Furthermore, crude oil from Nigeria, because of its quality, belongs to the Brent family or can be used as a substitute for Brent. Accordingly, supply shortfalls in Nigeria could restrict the availability of Brent.”

Brent also found modest support from freezing weather across Europe, which was pushing up demand, and from simmering geopolitical tensions over major crude exporter Iran, traders said.