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FT: Sabotage and storm concerns push oil to highs

Oil prices were on the ascendency again this week, with a cocktail of supply issues pushing Nymex West Texas Intermediate to a new record of $68 a barrel.

The benchmark crude price hit its new high on Thursday, extending the gains made after US inventory data on Wednesday showed an unexpectedly large drawdown in petrol stockpiles. This showed demand for petrol, in spite of concerns over the impact of high prices, expanded robustly during the previous week.

But the major concerns throughout the week centred on the real and implied threats to global supply of crude.

There were sabotage attacks on oil infrastructure in Iraq’s northern oilfields near Kirkuk on Friday. The attack on a well, which pumps 7,000 to 10,000 barrels per day of crude, proved a timely reminder of how vulnerable the area is to such attacks.

Meanwhile, protesters in Ecuador, whose attacks on the country’s oil industry last week were responsible for production losses, signed a deal on Thursday.

Much of the production was back on line, but still running at around 50,000 barrels per day below average, and the country’s oil minister said some wells may have been permanently damaged and unable to return to full production.


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