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Title: Oil prices hit near 3-week highs on supply fears amid deepening Ukraine crisis

Apr 18, 2022 01:05AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

Oil prices climbed to near three-week highs on Monday as fears of tight global supply increased and the deepening crisis in Ukraine raised the prospect of tougher sanctions by the West against key exporter Russia.

Brent futures rose $1.09, or 1.0%, to $112.79 a barrel at 0445 GMT, after earlier reaching a high of $113.80.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures rose $1.00, or 0.9%, to $107.95 a barrel, after earlier reaching a high of $108.55, the highest since March 30.

Ahead of the Easter weekend, both contracts gained more than 2.5% on Thursday following news that the European Union may impose a gradual ban on Russian oil imports.

EU governments said last week that the bloc's executive was drawing up proposals to ban Russian crude, but diplomats said Germany did not actively support an immediate embargo.

The International Energy Agency has warned that about 3 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian crude could be cut off from May due to sanctions or a voluntary waiver by buyers of Russian cargoes.

Russian oil production continued to fall in April, with a 7.5% drop in the first half of the month, the Interfax news agency reported Friday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies in a grouping known as OPEC+, which includes Russia, have rejected pressure from the West to increase production more quickly under a previously agreed deal to boost supply.

An OPEC report last week showed that OPEC production rose by only 57,000 bpd in March to 28.56 million bpd in March, falling short of the 253,000 bpd increase OPEC is allowed under the OPEC+ agreement.

However, forecasts for U.S. oil production are being revised upward despite labor and supply chain bottlenecks as higher prices lead to more drilling and well completions, according to industry experts.

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