U.S. oil at lowest in over a week as Pompeo says Iran is ready to talk
Oil futures settled sharply lower Tuesday, following reports that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran is ready to enter negotiations over its missile program, easing concerns about tensions between Washington and Tehran that had put the flow of oil in the Middle East at risk. Oil had been moving higher earlier Tuesday, with U.S. prices briefly touching highs above $60 a barrel, on expectations that U.S. government data due Wednesday will show a decline in weekly domestic crude stockpiles on the back of storm-related disruptions to output. Click here to read more from MarketWatch.
UAE plans oil trade overhaul to boost Middle Eastern clout
The United Arab Emirates’ state-run ADNOC, long seen as one of the most conservative oil firms in the Middle East, plans an overhaul for its trading operations as it seeks to emulate the success of rival oil majors and bolster its regional influence. The company has splurged on hiring former employees of private-sector peers and wants to launch a regional oil benchmark, possibly this year, similar to international markers Brent and WTI, four sources familiar with the plans said. The plan is not yet finalized and still has to be approved by UAE authorities, such as the Abu Dhabi Supreme Petroleum Council, the sources said. Click here to read more from Yahoo Finance.
U.S. Oil Lets Top Korean Refiner Pivot Away From Middle East
South Korea’s biggest oil refiner is looking to buy a wider variety of U.S. crude grades in a move that would reduce its reliance on supplies from the conflict-prone Middle East. SK Trading International Co. is considering heavier oil grades from the Gulf of Mexico and Canada as well as ultra-light crude from shale fields if prices are competitive, Chief Executive Officer Suh Sokwon said in an interview. The unit is the trading arm of SK Innovation Co., Korea’s top refiner. Click here to read more from Bloomberg.
Iran says it aided foreign oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz
Iran says it came to the assistance of a foreign oil tanker that broke down in the Strait of Hormuz, as international concern mounted over the fate of an Emirati-linked ship that went missing in Iranian waters four days ago. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said the tanker was approached by Iranian forces after sending a distress call and was towed into Iranian waters for repairs. “A foreign oil tanker encountered a problem in the Persian Gulf due to technical failure, and Iranian forces, in accordance with international regulations, rushed to help it after receiving a distress call,” Mousavi said Wednesday, according to Iranian media. Iran then “pulled it toward Iranian waters with a tugboat in order to carry out the necessary repairs,” Mousavi said, adding that more information on the incident would be announced later.