Investing.com – Crude oil prices settled at a two-week high on Friday, as geopolitical uncertainty in the Middle East raised the threat of supply disruptions, particularly in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s refusal to certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal.
As was expected, Trump on Friday decided against certifying the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, raising the risk of doing business in the oil-rich Middle Eastern nation.
The Persian nation is an OPEC member and key Middle Eastern oil producer.
Meanwhile, investors monitored ongoing unrest in Iraq following an independence referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan region last month that threatens to disrupt the operation of a pipeline that carries 500,000-600,000 barrels of crude per day.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures tacked on 85 cents, or around 1.7%, to end at $51.45 a barrel by close of trade. It touched its best level since Oct. 2 at $51.72 earlier in the session.
For the week, WTI prices rose about 4.4%, the largest such gain in a month.
Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., added 92 cents, or roughly 1.6%, to settle at $57.17 a barrel, its highest in nearly two weeks.
The global benchmark ended the week with an increase of approximately 2.8%, its strongest weekly percentage gain since the week ended Sept. 15.
Despite the bullish signals, analysts warned that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries needed to extend its agreement to reduce oil output beyond its current March 2018 expiry date in order to rebalance the market.
The original deal, struck nearly a year ago between OPEC and 10 other non-OPEC countries led by Russia, was to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day for six months. The agreement was extended in May of this year for a period of nine months until March 2018 in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.
The cartel’s next meeting is set for November 30 in Vienna.
Elsewhere, gasoline futures advanced 3.9 cents, or 2.5%, to end at $1.622 on Friday. It closed up around 4.1% for the week.
Heating oil rose 3.1 cents, or 1.8%, at $1.797 a gallon, ending roughly 3% higher for the week.
Natural gas futures inched up 1.1 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $3.000 per million British thermal units, its highest since Sept. 29, for a weekly rise of 4.8%.
In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Tuesday, October 17
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.
Wednesday, October 18
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.
Thursday, October 19
The U.S. government is set to produce a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.
Friday, October 20
Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.