Crude oil rose above $80 a barrel on Monday, lifted by nervousness over a worsening diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and the West.
This is just two weeks before U.S. sanctions potentially choke off Iranian crude supplies.
Saudi Energy Minister, Khalid al-Falih, told Russia’s TASS news agency that his country had no intention of unleashing a 1973-style oil embargo on Western consumers, but rather was focused on raising output to compensate for supply losses elsewhere, such as Iran.
Several U.S. lawmakers have suggested imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia over the killing of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, while the kingdom, the world’s largest oil exporter, pledged to retaliate to any sanctions with “bigger measures”.
Falih said Saudi Arabia would soon raise output to 11 million barrels per day (bpd) from the current 10.7 million. He added that Riyadh had capacity to increase output to 12 million bpd and Gulf OPEC ally, the United Arab Emirates, could add a further 200,000 bpd.
Benchmark Brent crude oil futures rose 45 cents on the day to $80.23 a barrel by 0900 GMT, while U.S. crude futures rose 31 cents to $69.43 a barrel.