Oil prices rose on Thursday, extending a cautious rally this week on signs of tight supply while the European Union (EU) wrangles with Hungary over plans to ban imports from Russia, the world’s second-largest crude exporter, after it invaded Ukraine.
A bigger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. crude inventories in the week to 20 May, following soaring exports, buoyed the market on Wednesday. Analysts said the inventory draw and the prospect of an EU embargo on Russian oil, in retaliation for what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, were pushing prices higher.
European Council President Charles Michel on Wednesday said he is confident that an agreement can be reached before the council’s next meeting on 30 May.
Even without a formal ban, much less Russian oil is available to the market as buyers and trading houses avoid dealing with crude and fuel suppliers from the country.