Oil prices edged up on Thursday to extend gains into a third straight session, as tensions in the Middle East stoked fears of potential disruptions to supply. Brent crude futures were at US$72.04 a barrel at 0110 GMT, up 27 cents, or 0.4per cent, from their last close. Brent closed up 0.7per cent on Wednesday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday threatened a swift and decisive US response to any attack by Iran, in the latest of a series of escalating statements and actions.
The US has lifted sanctions on a Venezuelan general who broke ranks from the Nicolás Maduro regime, saying it hoped it would push others to follow. Vice-President Mike Pence on Tuesday said the US would “consider sanctions relief for all those who step up”.
Venezuela's state-run PDVSA has shipped one million barrels of oil to Cuba days after the United States imposed fresh sanctions on vessels and firms involved in exports to the island in an effort to halt oil trade between the political allies, according to a PDVSA document and tanker tracking data.
Venezuela will “fulfill its commitments” to Cuba despite United States sanctions targeting oil shipments from Maracaibo to its ideological ally, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Monday.
The United States targeted Venezuela's government with new sanctions on Monday and called on allies to freeze the assets of its state-owned oil company PDVSA after deadly violence blocked aid from reaching the crisis-hit country during the weekend.
Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA is telling customers of its joint ventures to deposit oil sales proceeds in an account recently opened at Russia's Gazprombank AO, according to sources and an internal document, reported Reuters on Saturday.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that the U.S. likely surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia earlier this year to become the world’s top crude oil producer. The EIA based its disclosure on preliminary estimates in its Short Term Energy Outlook which is released every month.