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Oil prices likely to skyrocket amid war in Ukraine, sanctions against Russia

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Oil prices continue to rise amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The commodity has gained 2.5% on Thursday after reaching new highs earlier.

The price of Brent futures with delivery in May reached $115.22 at the time of writing. On Wednesday, Brent futures closed at $112.93 – the highest level since June 2014.

WTI futures with delivery in April were trading at $113.62 at the time of writing. Earlier, WTI futures reached the high of May 2011 - $110.6 per barrel.

The situation in Ukraine is directly influencing the price of oil. If situation in the country deteriorates, the price will go up rapidly.

Another factor pushing up crude oil is tensions between Russia and Western European nations. Major oil consumers are now refusing to buy oil from Russian producers. As a result, buyers have to seek other suppliers that would provide oil on similar terms.

There is a possible factor that could relieve Western supply woes – Iranian oil hitting the market. Supply from Iran would allow Western countries to reduce dependence on Russia. However, at this point, Iran is still under Western sanctions. US president Biden intends to strike a deal with the Iranian government, but it remains unclear when (or if) it would happen.

At this point, 70% of exported Russian oil cannot find any buyers. According to Energy Aspects, Russian oil producers have troubles with selling their commodity amid the current situation in Eastern Europe. Bloomberg reported that Russia's Surgutneftegaz hasn't been able to sell its commodity for the past 3 days.

Obviously, the threat of oil deficit is determining trader sentiment and price movements in the market. The International Energy Agency decided to release 60 million barrels of oil from strategic reserves, but it failed to calm down anxious traders.

Furthermore, there are reports that OPEC+ countries are planning not to increase oil production. On Wednesday, the group's member states agreed on leaving its April production quotas unchanged at 400,000 barrels a day.

"Current oil market fundamentals and the consensus on its outlook pointed to a well-balanced market, and that current volatility is not caused by changes in market fundamentals but by current geopolitical developments," the OPEC+ statement said.

With Russia's war against Ukraine in full swing, and Western sanctions against Moscow and the Russian oil sector only picking up, crude oil could reach $150 per barrel.

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