Oil above $120 a barrel ahead of EU meeting on Russia sanctions


Storage tanks are seen at the Los Angeles Marathon Petroleum refinery, which processes domestic and imported crude oil, in Carson, California, US, March 11, 2022. Photo taken March 11, 2022. Photo taken with a drone. Photograph: Ping Guan/Reuters

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  • The European Union discusses the sixth package of sanctions against Russia
  • US driving season begins amid supply concerns
  • OPEC + is expected to stick to the plan to release supplies

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices jumped above $120 a barrel on Monday, hitting their highest in more than two months, as traders waited to see if the European Union would reach an agreement on banning Russian oil imports.

Brent crude futures for July, which expire on Tuesday, were up 69 cents, or 0.6%, at $120.12 a barrel at 1310 GMT. The Brent contract for August, which is more active, rose 85 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $116.41 a barrel.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures jumped 74 cents, or 0.6%, to $115.81 a barrel, extending last week’s strong gains.

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The European Union is due to meet on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the sixth package of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, measures Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

“The EU ban on importing Russian oil is still in place, and if the limit is exceeded this week, expect supplies to be short again,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“As such, the risks of moving toward the higher post-Ukraine levels we saw in February are growing.”

European Union governments failed to agree on a Russian oil embargo on Sunday, officials said, but will continue talks on a deal to ban seaborne shipments while allowing pipeline deliveries before a summit on Monday afternoon. Read more

“It remains very difficult for the European Community to reduce its energy dependence on Russia in the near term. However, an immediate import ban is less likely, and demand may keep oil prices steady in the near term,” said analyst Leona Liu. The DailyFX is based in Singapore.

Any additional ban on Russian oil would tighten the crude market, which is already under pressure on supplies amid rising demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel ahead of the peak summer demand season in the United States and Europe.

Underlining the market’s tightness, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, dubbed OPEC+, are set to reject Western calls to speed up production increases when they meet on Thursday. Six OPEC+ sources told Reuters it would stick to current plans to increase production target in July by 432,000 bpd. Read more

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Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Kostav Samanta in Singapore; Editing by Bradley Perrett, Jason Neely and David Evans

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