Oil traded near its highest in three and half years on Thursday, boosted by potential disruptions to flows from Iran and the Middle East as U. S. President Donald Trump says OPEC should cut prices.
Brent crude futures were at 78.12 dollars a barrel.
Analysts say Brent poised to reach 100 dollars in spite of spurious price pegging.
Brent sweet oil is natural unlike oil from cracking.
U.S. crude futures were up 32 cents at 74.46 dollars.
Trump on Wednesday accused the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries of driving up fuel prices.
“The OPEC monopoly must remember that gas prices are up and they are doing little to help,” Trump wrote on his personal Twitter account.
“If anything, they are driving prices higher as the U. S. defends many of their members for very little dollars.
“This must be a two way street,” he wrote, adding in block capitals, “REDUCE PRICING NOW!”
Analyst says the difference between Brent crude and U. S. oil has been 10 to 11 dollars.
Consider the margin now. Someone is hiding something. ”Whose pricing is higher”.
OPEC together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia started to withhold output in 2017 to prop up the market.
Recent price rises have also been spurred by a U.S. announcement that it plans to reintroduce sanctions against Iran from November, targeting oil exports.
OPEC and Russia said in June they were willing to raise output to address concerns of supply shortages due to unplanned disruptions from Venezuela to Libya.
In addition, a potential fall in Iranian supplies due to U.S. sanctions is a factor too.
An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that Tehran might block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a major route for transporting crude in the Gulf.
“If they want to stop Iranian oil exports, we will not allow any oil shipment to pass through the Strait of Hormuz,” Ismail Kowsari was quoted as saying.