Oil Edges Higher on Geopolitical Tensions -- Update

By Christopher Alessi Features Dow Jones Newswires

Oil prices rose Friday, boosted by disruptions to production in Iraq amid geopolitical conflict.

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Light, sweet crude for November delivery gained 18 cents, or 0.4%, to $51.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, rose 52 cents, or 0.9%, to $57.75 a barrel.

Crude prices have climbed this week as clashes between Iraqi government troops and forces from the semiautonomous Kurdish region disrupted some oil production and exports. Kurds voted nearly unanimously to break away from Iraq in a controversial independence referendum late last month.

As operations have restarted in Iraq's northern oil fields, about half of production capacity in the region's largest fields appears to be down, according to oil consultancy Kayrros.

On Thursday, oil supplies that flow from Kurdistan, in northern Iraq, through Turkey fell to around 196,000 barrels a day, compared with an usual supply of around 600,000 barrels a day, according to Dutch bank ING Group.

"A prolonged disruption to this supply could tighten the oil market in Europe," analysts at ING said.

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Meanwhile, the head of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Thursday that there is "no doubt the oil market is rebalancing at an accelerated pace."

Speaking to a gathering of oil industry executives and experts in London, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo insisted that cartel's plan to cut output and rein in the global supply glut was paying off.

OPEC and 10 producers outside the cartel, including Russia, first agreed late last year to cap their production at around 1.8 million barrels a day lower than peak October 2016 levels, with the aim of alleviating global oversupply and boosting prices.

The deal was extended in May through March 2018 and a number of participants have in recent weeks indicated a willingness to prolong the deal through the end of next year. OPEC is set to officially debate an extension at its next meeting in Vienna in November.

Gasoline futures rose 2% to $1.6781 a gallon and diesel futures rose 1.6% to $1.8052 a gallon.

Benoit Faucon and Stephanie Yang contributed to this article.

Write to Christopher Alessi at christopher.alessi@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 20, 2017 16:27 ET (20:27 GMT)