Brent futures rose slightly today as continued tensions between Russia and the West over Crimea threatened to interrupt Russian oil supplies.
Brent crude rose by 28 cents to $106.52 a barrel, while US oil was down by eight cents to $98, reported Reuters.
Initial sanctions, imposed by the US and Europe on Russian officials after Crimea’s Sunday vote to become part of Russia, allayed fears of any major supply disruptions to energy markets, which provided support for Brent.
But in the early session, crude prices dropped when the sanctions imposed targeted Russian and Crimean individuals and not broad trade, leaving oil supplies from the second largest producer in the world so far uninterrupted.
Libyan oil production fell to less than 250,000bpd after the El Sharara oil field stopped pumping due to a new protest, which also leant support to Brent.
US oil prices fell as Reuters’ preliminary report estimated that US commercial crude inventories were expected to rise by more than two million barrels.
Investors are now waiting for the American Petroleum Institute and the US Energy Information Administration weekly inventory data, which is scheduled for release later today and Wednesday respectively.
Investors will also be eyeing the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed) two-day meeting, which is set to commence later today, where policymakers may continue the Fed’s earlier decision to cut its bond-buying pace by another $10bn a month.
Image: US crude drops on expectations of inventory build. Photo: courtesy of Victor Habbick.