Russia-Ukraine war pushes oil prices to new highs

Several Western energy companies withdraw involvement in Russian oil and gas projects since beginning of war.

Russia-Ukraine war pushes oil prices to new highs

The war between Russia and Ukraine has caused oil prices to skyrocket on Thursday as fears of supply shortages mount.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading as high as $117.01 per barrel - a nine-year high - at 0556 GMT for a 3.64% gain after closing the previous session at $112.90 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $114.50 per barrel at the same time for a 3.53% increase after the previous session closed at $110.60 a barrel.

In a week since Russia first announced a military operation in eastern Ukraine, Brent surged to $117, posting a 19.3% rise from around $98 a barrel on Feb. 24.

The oil price increase is driven by new sanctions imposed by Western countries against Russia, as well as possible counter-sanctions by Russia, heightening concerns over supply disruptions.

Several Western energy companies have withdrawn involvement in Russian oil and gas projects since the beginning of the war.

ExxonMobil, bp, Shell, and Equinor announced their exit plans from joint ventures and projects in Russia, and TotalEnergies also agreed to no longer invest in new projects in the country.

The Energy Information Administration data showed a 0.6% drop in US commercial crude oil inventories for the week ending Feb. 25, further feeding concerns of tight supply.

Inventories fell by 2.6 million barrels to 413.4 million barrels compared to the market expectation of a rise of 2.8 million barrels.

Meanwhile, the 23-members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies including Russia, known as OPEC+, agreed to adhere to the current plan of increasing output by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) through April on Wednesday.

The OPEC+ group argued that there is enough supply on the market to cater to demand, although the decision did little to put the brakes on prices, with oil hitting $113.93 per barrel by the time the meeting ended.

Since July last year, major producing countries have been raising output incrementally by 400,000 bpd.