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Crude oil drilling rig

Crude oil on the rise again as Saudi Arabia ends shipment via Red Sea lane

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Brent crude led oil prices higher, extending gains into a third day after Saudi Arabia suspended crude shipments through a strategic Red Sea shipping lane and as data showed U.S. inventories fell to a 3-1/2 year low.

Brent crude futures had risen 47 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $74.40 a barrel by 0247 GMT, after gaining 0.7 percent on Wednesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 5 cents at $69.35 a barrel, after climbing more than 1 percent in the previous session.

Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader pointed out that “The announcement this morning that the Saudis have closed some shipping lanes in the Gulf because of rebel Houthi attacks also gives the bulls something to launch off”.

He further observed that the drop in U.S. inventories. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, said on Thursday that it was “temporarily halting” all oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb after an attack on two big oil tankers by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement that the Houthis had attacked two Saudi Very Large Crude Carriers in the Red Sea on Wednesday morning, one of which sustained minimal damage.

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