Oil prices fall to a new 2017 low while a hung parliament promises more uncertainty for the sector

Courtney Goldsmith
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(FILES) This file picture taken 14 Octob
The shale gas industry will be rocked by the hung parliament (Source: Getty)

Oil prices have stabilised after dropping to a low not seen since November 2016 this morning as the sector faces more uncertainty amid a hung parliament result in the General Election.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures edged up 0.06 per cent to $47.89 a barrel this afternoon, which is around 12 per cent below its opening price on 25 May, the day the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) decided to extend production cuts into 2018, according to Reuters data.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the US benchmark, increased 0.22 per cent to $45.74 a barrel.

While continued oversupply in the market caused oil prices to fall to their lowest level of the year, results from the UK's General Election came rolling in showing the Conservatives would fall short of the 326 majority needed to form a government.

Michael Burns, oil and gas partner at law firm Ashurst, said the uncertainty of this result will only cause further uncertainty for an industry "that has suffered from that theme over the last few years with the fluctuations in oil and gas prices".

"‎This will be particularly felt in the UK's shale gas industry which will be watching carefully as the inevitable political 'moving and shaking' over the next days, weeks and months will be key to its near and longer-term prospects."

The use of fracking to extract shale gas from the ground is a hotly contested issue in the UK. The Conservatives supported fracking in their election manifesto while Labour opposed it.

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