Oil prices rise on tensions in Kurdistan

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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A worker is seen at the Tawke oil refine
Kurdistan voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence this week (Source: Getty)

Rising tensions in northern Iraq following the Kurdistan independence referendum have pushed oil prices higher today.

Brent crude prices were up nearly one per cent at $58.59 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices were up 1.13 per cent to $52.73 a barrel.

Kurdistan voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence in a referendum on Monday. Oil prices jumped to a more than two-year high after Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said he could use military force to prevent the formation of an independent Kurdish state and might close the oil "tap". Today Turkey promised only to deal with the Iraqi government on crude oil exports.

“Kurdistan and northern Iraq now export 500,000-550,000 barrels per day. That would be a big loss to the market,” said Tamas Varga, analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates, according to Reuters.

Prices were also helped by a weekly inventory report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) yesterday which showed a drawdown of 1.8m barrels against expectations of a 3.4m barrel build.

Gasoline stocks rose on bigger than expected run rates at refineries as they returned to full operations after Hurricane Harvey last month.

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