Oil Up Amid Arab Disarray

Oil Up Amid  Arab DisarrayOil Up Amid  Arab Disarray

Oil rose on Monday after top crude exporter Saudi Arabia and other Arab states cut ties with Qatar, driving up prices on concerns over increased tension in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain closed transport links with top liquefied natural gas and condensate shipper Qatar, accusing it of undermining regional stability, CNBC reported.

The move pushed Brent crude prices up 35 cents, or 0.7%, to $50.30 a barrel, having risen as much as 1% earlier in the session. US West Texas Intermediate futures were at $48.03 a barrel, up 37 cents.

With a production capacity of about 600,000 barrels per day, Qatar's crude oil output is one of OPEC's smallest. But tensions within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries could potentially impact on an agreement to cut production in order to support global prices.

"I think it is still going to be a bit of a debate on the true impact it can have on the oil market," said Olivier Jakob, strategist at Petromatrix.

"In terms of oil flows it does not change very much but there is a wider geopolitical impact one needs to consider," Jakob added, explaining that a breakdown in relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia could weaken the OPEC-led agreement on production cuts.

There are already doubts the effort to curb production by almost 1.8 million bpd is seriously denting actual exports.

While there was a dip in OPEC supplies between February and April, a report on Monday by Thomson Reuters Oil Research said OPEC shipments likely jumped to 25.18 million bpd in May, up over 1 million bpd from April.

Brent futures are still down about 7% from their open on May 25, when OPEC opted to extend production cuts into 2018.

Crude output in the United States, which is not participating in the cuts, has jumped more than 10% since mid-2016 to 9.34 million bpd, close to levels of top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The rise in US production has been driven by a record 20th straight weekly climb in oil drilling, with the rig count climbing by 11 in the week to June 2, to 733, the most since April 2015.

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