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Crude oil prices increased today, supported by supply worries as Russia vowed to respond if its Ukrainian interests were attacked. However, further gains were restricted by the rise in US crude inventory.

Brent crude gained by 28 cents to $109.39 a barrel, while US oil rose by 27 cents to reach $101.71 a barrel, reported Reuters.

The top oil producer accused the US of being behind the political upheaval in Ukraine, which has deteriorated the relationship between Moscow and the West.

Russia has gathered approximately 40,000 soldiers near Ukraine’s border, according to Nato.

Moscow says some of the troops had permanent presence, while others were deployed as a precautionary measure.

A report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that US crude stocks increased by 3.5 million barrels in the week ending 18 April, the highest levels since the agency began collecting data in 1982. It also reported a 2.2% increase in refinery operating rates.

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By GlobalData
"In addition, gains in oil prices were capped by rising shipments from Iraq."

In addition, gains in oil prices were capped by rising shipments from Iraq.

Oil exports from the country’s southern terminals are heading for a record high in April, according to loading data and industry sources.

Reuters’ shipping data indicated that exports from Iraq’s southern terminals for the first 23 days of April have averaged 2.55 million barrels per day. If sustained for seven more days, southern exports for the month would reach a 35-year high.

Image: EIA data shows US crude inventories rise to record levels. Photo: courtesy of Iamnee at