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HOUSTON: Crude prices rose more than 1% to over $120 a barrel on Friday, as traders reconciled the impact of a missile attack on an oil distribution facility in Saudi Arabia with a possible release of oil reserves by the United States.
Brent crude settled up $1.62, or 1.4%, to $120.65 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude ended at $1.56, or 1.4% higher, at $113.90. Both had dropped $3 earlier.
Both benchmarks notched their first weekly gains in three weeks – Brent rose more than 11.5% and WTI gained 8.8%
Yemen’s Houthis said they launched attacks on Saudi energy facilities on Friday and the Saudi-led coalition said Aramco’s fuel distribution station in Jeddah had been targeted by an attack, but that fire in two tanks at the facility had been brought under control.
Saudi Arabia said it will not hold responsibility for any shortage of oil supplies in global markets caused by Houthi attacks on its oil facilities.
The Houthi movement that has been battling a coalition led by Saudi Arabia for seven years launched missiles on Aramco’s facilities in Jeddah and drones at Ras Tanura and Rabigh refineries, the group’s military spokesman said.
“The market, which was already shunning Russian oil supplies, has another thing to worry about with Houthi attacks potentially impacting Saudi Arabia’s production,” said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, noting that the Houthi attacks were becoming more frequent.