Oil Prices Steady Despite Geopolitical Tensions

Oil prices closed almost flat on Tuesday (October 17) despite clashes in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region and rising tensions between Iran and the US.
November West Texas Intermediate crude closed a cent up, at $51.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for December delivery on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose 6 cents, to $57.88 a barrel.

“Geopolitical risk supported the initial move higher, but we’ve pushed to price levels that are clearly attractive to U.S. shale producers,” Robbie Fraser, commodities analyst at Schneider Electric, told MarketWatch.

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Last September, the Kurds voted in favor of independence from Iraq, challenging the central government and other regional powers. The Kurds dominate the oil-rich Iraqi province of Kirkuk.
But the Kurdish Peshmerga recently agreed to return to 2003 borders. Regaining control of the sites will now allow for more investment and will enhance exports, according to Iraq’s oil ministry.
“This is a pretty strong indicator that the conflict is not going to continue, that some of the temporary loss of production is going to come back,” James Williams, president of Arkansas-based energy researcher WTRG Economics, told Bloomberg.
“It’s certainly in Iraq’s interest to keep the Kirkuk-area oil fields going and with the retreat to…

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