Oil Prices Rise with Middle East Tensions
Tensions in the Middle East rose again over the weekend after reports indicated that four oil vessels were “attacked” or “sabotaged” at the mouth of the Persian Gulf near Fujairah Emirate, just outside of the Strait of Hormuz. The United Arab Amirates (UAE) stated that the damaged ships were two crude oil tankers owned by Saudi Arabian shipping firm Bahri, one fuel bunker barge flying a UAE flag and Norwegian oil products tanker owned by Thome Ship management. These reports are still largely unconfirmed, but come as no surprise given the recent rhetoric and geopolitical tensions facing the region.
The oil patch rallied today after starting off the day in the red as news hit this afternoon that Saudi Arabia will be targeting the United States with sharp oil export cuts in January.
The world of crude oil is buzzing right now, as OPEC is currently meeting in Vienna, with a goal of reaching an agreement over production levels within the next 6 months. Oil prices dropped over 3 percent on Thursday as OPEC agreed to cut production. However, the cartel is waiting to decide on the actual size of reduction until after a discussion with Russia. This could delay the decision until Friday, when OPEC is set to meet with non-members.
Since the start of November, the two-year bull-run in the energy sector is facing one of its biggest challenges. Within the oil market universe, there are growing concerns of a global economic slowdown and oil demand following suit as the continued price collapse, almost 15%, from its October highs.