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Oil prices soared past $65 a barrel to a three-month high today (Jan. 17), lifted by concerns about Iran’s resumption of its nuclear program and threats to exports from Nigeria, according to CBS MarketWatch.
“Iran and Nigeria are raising the stakes for oil traders as the risk premium on oil has now gone to the highest levels in quite awhile,” said Phil Flynn, a senior analyst at Alaron Trading. “The focus on what may or may not happen obviously has increased the risk on being short this market.”
Light sweet crude for February delivery was last trading up $1.18, or 1.9%, at $65.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier touching a high of $65.53 in overnight trade, its highest level since Oct. 3.
Oil products rose with crude. February unleaded gasoline climbed 2.69 cents, or 1.6%, at $1.758 a gallon and February heating oil gained 5 cents, or 2.9%, to $1.723 a gallon.
Europe and the U.S. are at loggerheads with Iran after the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter broke the seals on some of its nuclear research sites last week.
Although Iran denies it is planning to develop nuclear weapons, Europe and the U.S. are trying to call an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which could result in sanctions against Iran. However, Iran has warned that sanctions would lead to higher oil prices.
At the same time, Nigerian militants have threatened further attacks against oil industry workers in the country, which is the world’s eighth largest oil exporter.