Oil futures rose Tuesday, building on the highest finish for the U.S. benchmark since 2008, as Washington and its allies weigh a ban on purchases of Russian crude.
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery
roe $3.10, or 2.6%, to $122.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after ending Monday at its highest since Sept. 22, 2008.
April natural gas
was down 4.9% at $4.594 per million British thermal units.
Oil futures continue to march higher in the wake of Russia’s Feb.24 invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. and its allies continue to weigh the possibility of banning purchases of crude from Russia, which exports around 5 million barrels a day.
Although sanctions against Moscow announced so far have exempted energy flows, a number of buyers and other market participants have appeared to shun Russian crude out of fear of potentially falling afoul of legal restrictions or in response to criticism. Shell PLC said Tuesday that it plans to withdraw from Russian oil and gas in a phased manner, including an immediate halt on all spot purchases of Russian crude.
“This is the tightest fundamental backdrop in years and the developments in Russia/Ukraine have ignited a market that was already a coiled spring,” said Michael Tran, commodity analyst at RBC Capital Markets, in a note. “How high can oil prices go? Pick a number, this is a market in disarray.”
Meanwhile, U.S. gasoline prices continue to jump at the pump as well as in the futures market. The national average price for a gallon of gasoline hit $4.173 early Tuesday, AAA reported, exceeding the previous record of $4.114 set in July 2008.