Crude oil prices cool down after volatile morning with Saudi Arabia

Oct. 15 (UPI) — Crude oil futures went for a wild ride in European trading Monday but settled down before U.S. markets opened, in part because U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia are talking again.

Brent prices soared 83 cents Monday while WTI prices jumped 55 cents. By mid-day, prices stabilized with Brent trading at $80 and WTI at $71.

The biggest wild card for oil prices remains the U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude oil, which are intended to prohibit countries from importing oil from Iran after Nov. 4. That’s complicated by the fact that Iran is already concealing the routes tanker ships take after they leave the country, reports.

There’s so much uncertainty that executives with top oil traders are giving price projections all over the map, from $65 a barrel to $100 a barrel, for 2019.

There was panic in the oil markets Sunday night as relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia deteriorated over the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. At one point, an editorial by Saudi-owned media company Al Arabiya warned oil prices could soar to $100, $200 or even double that amount if the Trump administration imposes sanctions on the country.

By Monday morning, Trump had spoken with the Saudi leadership and agreed to send Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the oil kingdom immediately.

While tensions with Saudi Arabia could cause oil prices to spike, they’re being pulled the opposite way by news that oil demand is increasing worldwide and U.S. inventories are rising.

The world is “adequately supplied for now” and there are no dangers of a shortage at the moment, the International Energy Agency reported last week.

That’s despite potential disruptions from Iran, Venezuela and Libya.

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