Tanker Attacks Push Oil Prices
Oil prices settled 2.2% higher after attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman stoked concerns of reduced crude trade flows through one of the world’s key shipping routes.
The attacks near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz reignited worries about an impact to flows from the Middle East if insurance companies begin to reduce coverage for voyages through the region and additional shipping companies suspend new bookings, analysts said.
Such a disruption “could further exacerbate the supply problem,” said Andy Lipow, an analyst at Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.
Oil tanker owners DHT Holdings and Heidmar suspended new bookings to the Mid-East Gulf, three ship brokers said.
“This is the second attack in a month’s time,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in New York. “It raises the ante for insurance risk.”
Tensions in the Middle East have escalated since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 multinational nuclear pact with Iran and reimposed sanctions, notably targeting Tehran’s oil exports.
Iran, which has distanced itself from the previous attacks, has said it would not be cowed by what it called psychological warfare.
The episode also fed fears of a new confrontation between Iran and the United States, which blamed Tehran for the incident.