Oil prices finished higher on Friday, as ongoing tensions in the Middle East lent support while the gains were capped by concerns over a global crude surplus. The West Texas Intermediate for August delivery gained 0.01 U.S. dollar to settle at 60.21 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for September delivery climbed 0.20 dollar to close at 66.72 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange, agency reports.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry urged Britain to release its oil tanker which
Britain seized in the Strait of Gibraltar last week, official IRNA news agency reported on Friday.
“The British claim over the oil tanker is legally void,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told IRNA.
Last Thursday, British Royal Marines in the Strait of Gibraltar seized an Iranian ship which was heading to Syria “in breach of EU sanctions,” Western media reported. The Spanish acting foreign minister said the seizure of Grace 1 was at the U.S. request.
Mousavi urged Britain not to enter what he called the “dangerous game of the United States.”
Oil prices were propped up as market participants were worried that the growing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East may disrupt oil flows.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a statement on Friday that the oil market showed a global surplus of 0.5 million barrels a day (b/d) in the second quarter this year versus previous expectations of a 0.5 million b/d deficit.
“This surplus adds to the huge stock builds seen in the second half of 2018 when oil production surged just as demand growth started to falter,” said the agency.
A separate report by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) on Thursday also showed an uptrend in production outside the group, indicating a surplus in supply may return despite an OPEC-led pact to curb output.