Oil prices jumped as much as 4 percent on Thursday after a suspected attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of global oil consumption passes.
The two tankers, the Marshal Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous, have been evacuated and the crews were safe, shipping sources said. The Front Altair is carrying naphtha and the Kokuka Courageous methanol.
The charterer of the former said the vessel was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo”. The manager of the latter said it had been damaged as a result of a “suspected attack” but that its cargo was still intact.
The incident followed last month’s nearby sabotage attacks on vessels off the Fujairah emirate, one of the world's largest bunkering hubs. Brent crude futures were up $1.72 at $61.69 a barrel by 0757 GMT, having risen earlier by as much as 4.45 percent to $62.64.
US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up $1.32 at $52.46 a barrel. WTI earlier rose as much as 3.85 percent to $53.11. Both benchmarks are nevertheless headed for a weekly loss.
Oil prices had slumped in the previous session on an unexpected rise in US crude stockpiles and a dimming outlook for global oil demand.
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