Crude prices hit 9-month peaks
IRAN THREATENS TO CUT OIL TO OTHER EU NATIONS
Tehran, Feb 20: Iran will cut oil exports to other EU countries if their "hostile actions" continue, the deputy oil minister who heads the state oil company said on Monday, a day after Tehran halted sales to France and Britain.
Exports to Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands would be stopped, Ahmad Qalebani was quoted as saying by Mehr news agency. "Certainly if the hostile actions of some European countries continue, the export of oil to these countries will be cut," said Qalebani, who runs the National Iranian Oil Company.
Iran exports nearly 20 percent of its crude to the European Union, most of which goes to Italy, Spain and Greece.
On Monday, the oil ministry announced it had halted exports to France and Britain. That was in apparent retaliation for an EU-wide ban on Iranian oil that is to come fully into effect July 1 as part of Western sanctions against Tehran's nuclear programme Although the ministry's measure was largely symbolic, France imports only around three percent of its oil from Iran, and Britain less than one percent, crude prices soared on fears Tehran could expand its cuts to other European nations.
Oil prices hit nine-month highs on Monday, with London and New York contracts reaching $121.15 and $105.21 a barrel in Asian trading hours, the highest levels since May 5, 2011.
Later in London midday trade, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April stood at $120.55 a barrel, up 97 cents compared with Friday's closing level. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude for March, jumped $1.61 to $104.85. "Iran's decision to halt oil exports to France and Great Britain is commonly cited today as the reason for the price rise," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch. AFP
Lastupdate on : Mon, 20 Feb 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 20 Feb 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Feb 2012 00:00:00 IST
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