Brent holds above $115 as Syria concerns stoke supply fears

Brent crude held above $115 a barrel, near a week's high, as US lawmakers voiced support for military action on Syria

Brent crude held above $115 a barrel on Wednesday, near a week's high, as U.S. lawmakers voiced support for military action on Syria, renewing jitters over potential supply disruption in the Middle East.

President Barack Obama won the backing of key figures in the U.S. Congress, including Republicans, in his call for limited strikes on Syria to punish President Bashar al-Assad for his suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians.

Brent crude for October delivery was at $115.73, up 5 cents by 0213 GMT, following a $1.35 gain on Tuesday.

October U.S. crude futures fell 29 cents to $108.25 a barrel after settling up 89 cents in the previous session.

"The U.S. is likely to take some action in Syria," Tetsu Emori, a commodity sales manager at Astmax Investments in Tokyo. "Oil prices should ratchet up."

Analysts from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Societe Generale expect Brent to rise to $120-$130 a barrel in a limited strike situation, while a protracted war could boost oil by as much as $50.

Oil prices at more than $120 could threaten the still nascent global economic recovery, Emori said.

Syria is not a key oil producer but investors are worried that a strike by Western forces against Syria could spread unrest in the Middle East and disrupt its oil supply.

Markets are already coping with a supply loss from OPEC producer Libya as strikes at ports and pipelines have shrunk exports to around 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) - less than a tenth of capacity. Overall global outages from the Middle East and Africa rose above 3 million bpd - some 3.5 percent of global demand.

"It's not a small number. Even the increase in U.S. oil production is not enough to cover," Emori said.

Sudan's decision to lift a threat to block oil exports from South Sudan provided some relief, although Juba's output at 200,000 bpd remained lower than before the conflict shut its entire production.

Oil supply has become as tight as when the International Energy Agency (IEA) ordered a rare release of strategic oil reserves during the civil war in 2011, raising talks of possible action from the OECD energy watchdog.

U.S. commercial crude oil and gasoline inventories likely fell last week, a preliminary Reuters poll of six analysts showed.

Investors were also awaiting key jobs data from the United States later this week for clues on when the Federal Reserve will slow its massive bond-buying program.

The Fed's decision has been complicated by the potential military strike on Syria that could upset global financial markets, analysts said.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Wildwine

Yes Syria is not a major oil producing country. But:
1) Iraq one of the largest producers is bordering Syria.
2) Some of the key stakeholders such as Saudi Arabia & Iran are also two of the largest oil producers.
Therefore, any attack on Syria will essentially drive crude prices up.

Posted by: Non-Muslim

I have a constantly growing feeling of disbelief about the seriousness of those "analysts" who are driving up crude oil prices, and thus also the fuel price for the end-consumer at the gas station.

Syria is not an oil producing country, yet those "analysts" are firing up fears that a US strike there (which becomes more unlikely minute by minute) could possibly, eventually disrupt supplies.

Looks like these "analysts" are driving up the price simply for their own bonus...

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Petroleum producers shift attention from Middle East: Kemp

Petroleum producers shift attention from Middle East: Kemp

Following four decades of war, sanctions, nationalisation and...

Gold industry shifts east as Dubai plans huge refinery

Gold industry shifts east as Dubai plans huge refinery

$60m refinery being built by Kaloti Precious Metals in Dubai...

Dubai gold dealers shun Turkish bars on fear of links to Iran

Dubai gold dealers shun Turkish bars on fear of links to Iran

Trade in Turkish gold bars to Iran via Dubai is drying up as...

Most Discussed
  • 19
    It's time for restaurants to stop shaming smokers

    Comparing Driving to Smoking is the most shameless ploy to convince people that we should not persecute smokers.

    If your vehicle hits someone... more

    Thursday, 25 May 2017 12:47 PM - Elkhorn
  • 9
    Revealed: huge disparity in Dubai school fees

    I recall a recent study by Alpen Capital suggesting that the average cost of a child's entire life of schooling in Dubai is about AED 1 million. Although... more

    Monday, 29 May 2017 9:21 AM - New Expat
  • 5
    How Saudi Arabia blundered into OPEC oil cut

    Before Saudi Arabia's decision to move to unlimited production, analysts broadly thought break-even for shale was usd80. After the move, shale producers... more

    Tuesday, 30 May 2017 12:44 PM - Anastasios Dalgiannakis