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Oil prices surge as Russia-Ukraine conflict continues

New York, March 2 (IANS) Oil prices jumped to multi-year highs as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continued, prompting fears about energy supply disruptions from key exporter Russia.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) on Tuesday for April delivery added $7.69, or 8 per cent, to settle at $103.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It marked the highest settlement for a front-month contract since July 2014, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Brent crude for May delivery increased $7, or nearly 7.2 per cent, to close at $104.97 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange, the highest finish since August 8, 2014.

On Monday, the WTI and Brent advanced 4.5 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively.

Moscow’s ongoing military operations in Ukraine and the far-reaching Western sanctions against Russia have triggered concerns about disruptions of Russian energy supplies, experts noted.

The oil rally came despite a coordinated effort to increase supply and bring down prices.

The International Energy Agency announced on Tuesday that its member countries have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their emergency reserves to ease any supply shortfall caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Traders are awaiting a key meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, a group collectively known as OPEC+, as the oil alliance is set to meet on Wednesday to discuss its future output strategy.

“What is really needed is a signal from OPEC+ at its meeting tomorrow that it will make sufficient oil available to offset any Russian outage,” Carsten Fritsch, energy analyst at Carsten Fritsch, said Tuesday in a note.

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