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Oil mixed in Asia as Iran concerns grow

August 14, 2012


Crude oil — File Photo
Crude oil — File Photo

SINGAPORE: Oil was mixed in Asian trade Tuesday but analysts said prices would remain high amid an expected supply cut in the North Sea and speculation over a possible Israeli military strike on Iran.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, was up nine cents to $92.82 a barrel in the afternoon.

Brent North Sea crude for September turned lower, falling 11 cents to $113.49 on profit-taking after briefly breaking through $115 a barrel overnight to its highest level in three months.

Analysts said oil prices would remain high due to concerns about tightening supply from the North Sea and tensions in the Middle East.

North Sea crude supply is set to be curtailed in September primarily by the shutdown of an oil field for scheduled maintenance.

And speculation was mounting in the Israeli press about a possible strike on Iran, with the newspaper Haaretz reporting top officials believe time is fast approaching for a decision by the government.

The United States insisted on Monday that there is still time for a diplomatic way out of the West's nuclear showdown with Iran, which denies claims it is trying to build a nuclear bomb.

The White House said there remains a “window” for its strategy of pressure through punishing sanctions, adding that talks with Tehran could work despite the absence of a breakthrough so far.