Oil futures ended higher Friday, pushing to another round of seven-year highs after the White House warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was potentially imminent.
West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery
rose $3.22, or 3.6%, to close at $93.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, leaving the U.S. benchmark with a 0.9% weekly rise and the highest finish for a front-month contract since September 2014, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
April Brent crude
the global benchmark, rose $3.03, or 3.3%, to end at $94.44 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, leaving it up 1.3% for the week and at its highest since September 2014.
March natural gas
fell 0.5% to $3.9410 per million British thermal units, falling 13.8% for the week.
Crude oil extended strong gains, turning positive for the week, after White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could happen “any day now,’ including during the Winter Olympic Games under way in Beijing.
Crude had been buoyed earlier in the session after the International Energy Agency, in its monthly report, warned that signs of a shortfall in output by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies was worsening.
Hot U.S. inflation data on Thursday showing the January consumer-price index rose 7.5% year-over-year, remaining near a 40-year high, had the potential to keep a lid on crude as pressure grows for the Federal Reserve to move aggressively to tighten monetary policy, said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, in a note.
Ahead of the White House remarks on Ukraine, analysts warned that an easing of worries over geopolitical tensions was unlikely to last.
“We…remain positive and would buy the dips for a near term run-up towards the $100 area,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, in a note.
Also Friday, oil-field-services company Baker Hughes reported that the number of U.S. oil rigs rose by 19 this week to 516, while gas rigs rose by 2 to 118. The oil-rig count is up 210 from the same time last year, while gas rigs are up by 28.