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Title: Oil twitchy after coming off 14-year highs, focus on US ban on Russian oil

Mar 08, 2022 12:35AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

Oil prices fluctuated on Tuesday, with Brent crude futures trading at $125 a barrel, down about 10 percent from the 14-year high reached in the previous session, reflecting relief that European allies were not planning to join a possible US ban on Russian oil imports.

At 11:40 p.m. ET, Brent crude futures were $2.01, or 1.63 percent, higher at $125 a barrel after trading as high as $126.35 earlier.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose $1.53, or 1.28%, to $120 a barrel.

If the war resumes, Brent prices are likely to range between $156 and $185 a barrel.

However, late on Monday night, officials said the United States was prepared to enforce a ban on its own, and Germany, the biggest buyer of Russian crude, rejected plans for an energy embargo, slowing the price rise.

A senior US official, who wished to remain anonymous, told Reuters no final decision had been made but "if it happens, it will probably just be the US".

Russia exports about 7 million barrels of crude oil and oil products a day.

In response to Berlin's decision last month to halt the opening of the controversial new Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Russia warned that it could stop the flow of gas through pipelines from Russia to Germany.

If all Russian oil exports were kept off world markets, analysts said prices could rise to $200 a barrel, while Russia's deputy prime minister said oil prices could rise above $300.

Two Australian refiners, Viva Energy and Ampol Ltd said they would stop buying Russian crude after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The disruption in oil supply comes at a time when stockpiles around the world continue to fall. Five analysts polled by Reuters estimated on average that US crude inventories fell by about 800,000 barrels in the week to 4 March.

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