US oil prices rose above USD 70 per barrel today for the first time since November 2014, due to the deepening of Venezuela’s economic crisis and worries of a possible withdrawal of the US from the Iran deal, Reuters reports.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 0.7 percent to trade at $70.18 per barrel at 0242 GMT, up 46 cents from their last settlement.
Brent crude oil futures were at $75.22 per barrel, up 35 cents, or 0.5 percent from their last close.
Venezuela’s oil output has halved since the early 2000s to just 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd), as the country has failed to invest enough to maintain its petroleum industry.
Iran re-emerged as a major oil exporter in 2016 after international sanctions against it were lifted in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from the 2015 agreement with Iran by not extending sanctions waivers on May 12, which would likely result in a reduction of Iran’s oil exports.
U.S. oil output will likely rise further this year, towards or past Russia’s 11 million bpd, as its energy firms keep drilling for more.