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RIYADH: Crude prices rose more than 1 percent to over $120 a barrel on Friday, as traders reconciled the impact of a missile attack on an oil distribution facility in Saudi Arabia with a possible release of oil reserves by the United States.
Brent crude settled up $1.62, or 1.4 percent, to $120.65 a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate crude ended at $1.56, or 1.4 percent higher, at $113.90. Both had dropped $3 earlier.
Both benchmarks notched their first weekly gains in three weeks — Brent rose more than 11.5 percent and WTI gained 8.8 percent.
Ukrainian president urges energy producers to hike output
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on energy-producing countries on Saturday to increase output so that Russia cannot use its oil and gas wealth to “blackmail” other nations.
Addressing the Doha Forum international conference via video link, Zelensky said countries such as Qatar could make a contribution to the stabilization of Europe.
“They can do much to restore justice. The future of Europe depends on your effort. I ask you to increase the output of energy to ensure that everyone in Russia understands that no country can use energy as a weapon and blackmail the world,” he said in translated comments.
The month-long invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Europe’s top gas supplier, has sharpened concerns of disruption to energy supplies and increased scrutiny of European Union countries’ reliance on imported fossil fuels.
Zelensky also said no country is insured against shocks from disruptions to food supply happening because of Russia’s invasion of his country. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain producers.
EU Commission to discuss energy options with all parties
The EU Commission will discuss with all the involved parties options to ease the energy market crunch worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Friday, including a proposal to cap gas prices.
“The European Commission will discuss with stakeholders, the large oil and electricity companies, distribution companies, and others,” Draghi told a news conference after a summit of the EU leaders in Brussels.
“We expect to have some proposals by May,” he said.
He said the leaders agreed that any demand by Russia to receive payment in roubles for its gas exports would represent a breach of contract.
Draghi, who said he did not expect a reduction in gas supplies from Russia, last week approved measures worth 4.4 billion euros ($4.83 billion) to help Italian firms and consumers to cope with the surging energy costs.
The package comes on top of some 16 billion euros budgeted since last July to try and soften electricity and gas bills.
“Within two weeks we will be able to present a detailed diversification plan to the country,” Draghi said.
French Perenco group to invest $380 million in Tunisia in 4 years
French Perenco group will invest $380 million in Tunisia in the next four years in renewable energy, hydrocarbons, and bio-olive oil, the Tunisian government said on Saturday.
A government statement cited company chairman Francois Perrodo as saying the group intended to expand its investments in Tunisia, which is seeking to attract foreign investment to alleviate a severe economic crisis.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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