Oil markets tense on Middle East crisis, but rising US supplies weigh

SINGAPORE: Oil markets remained tense on Thursday on concerns of a military escalation in Syria, but prices were some way off Wednesday’s 2014 highs as bulging American supplies weighed.

Brent crude futures were at $ 71.98 per barrel at 0016 GMT, down 8 cents from their last close.

US WTI crude futures were at $ 66.83 a barrel, virtually unchanged from their last settlement.

Both Brent and WTI hit 2014 highs of $ 73.09 and $ 67.45 per barrel on Wednesday, respectively, after Saudi Arabia said it intercepted missiles over Riyadh and US President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria.

“Geopolitical risks outweighed an unexpected rise in inventories in the US,” ANZ bank said on Thursday.

US crude oil inventories <C-STK-T-EIA> rose by 3.3 million barrels to 428.64 million barrels.

Meanwhile, US crude oil production <C-OUT-T-EIA> last week hit a fresh record of 10.53 million barrels per day (bpd), up by a quarter since mid-2016.

The United States now produces more crude than top exporter Saudi Arabia. Only Russia, at currently just under 11 million bpd, pumps out more.