Oil prices up as attack on tankers heighten supply concerns


Dubai — Oil futures rose on increasing concerns about Middle East supply disruptions.

Brent crude futures were at $71.71 a barrel, up $1.09 or 1.5%. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $62.46 per barrel, up 80 cents or 1.3%.

Saudi Arabia said on Monday that two Saudi oil tankers were among vessels targeted by a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, condemning it as an attempt to undermine the security of global crude supplies.

The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels were attacked near Fujairah, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs. The port lies near the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important oil export waterways.

A senior source at Saudi Arabia's ministry of energy told CNN Business that the attacks were particularly alarming because the tankers were targeted outside the Strait of Hormuz.

The US Energy Information Administration calls the Strait of Hormuz "the world's most important oil transit chokepoint," with an estimated 20% of oil traded worldwide moving through the channel.

Tensions have risen in the region in recent weeks amid the deployment of a growing number of United States military assets to the Middle East due to deteriorating relations with Iran.

The Trump administration vowed last month to bring Iran's oil exports to "zero" by ending the sanctions' waivers that had allowed some countries to continue to buy crude from the OPEC nation. — Agencies