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Oil prices increased today as US President Barack Obama hinted towards stringent sanctions against Russia, making oil traders cautious.

Brent crude was up by two cents to $107.05 a barrel, while US oil rose by 11 cents to settle at $100.37 a barrel, reported Reuters.

Crude prices rose after Obama told the European Union (EU) they cannot depend on the US alone to ease its dependency on Russian energy, as tensions with Moscow increase over its seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

The US and EU have agreed on their support for Ukraine and to prepare possible tougher economic sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Crimea, including in the energy sector.

Obama warned Russia that isolation of the country will further deepen and sanctions will increase, with consequences for the Russian economy.

"Obama warned Russia that isolation of the country will further deepen and sanctions will increase, with consequences for the Russian economy."

Prices also gained support after the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data revealed that oil stocks at the contract’s delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma, fell by 1.33 million barrels, which was the eighth straight weekly draw.

Oil theft in Nigeria could threaten the country’s position as top African crude oil exporter, as exports look likely to drop to their lowest since records began in 2009.

Iran’s oil exports to Asia have reached 1.3 million barrels per day in March on average, which is to be held at 1 million barrels per day for the six months up to 20 July.


Image: According to the EIA data the US oil stocks rose by 6.6 million barrels last week. Photo: courtesy of Victor Habbick.

Energy