Oil prices rose on Thursday, buffeted by concerns about tightened supply as the European Union (EU) mulls a potential ban on Russian oil imports that would further restrict worldwide oil trade.
Brent crude futures were up 50 cents to $107.30 a barrel as of 12:59 p.m. ET (1659 GMT), after earlier reaching a high of $109.80 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 75 cents to $102.94 a barrel, after earlier reaching a high of $105.42.
Buyers also reacted to ongoing interruptions in Libya, which is losing more than 550,000 barrels per day of oil output due to blockades at major fields and export terminals.
Brent has gained nearly 8% in the last seven trading days, but the rally has come at a slow, grinding pace, unlike the frenzy that accompanied moves in late February when Russia invaded Ukraine and in mid-March as well.
The EU is still weighing such a ban over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation” to demilitarise its neighbour.
U.S. crude exports rose to more than 4 million barrels a day last week, partially offsetting the losses of Russian crude hit by sanctions from the United States and European nations.
The oil market remains tight with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, together called OPEC+, struggling to meet their production targets and with U.S. crude stockpiles down sharply in the week ended April 15.