Oil Updates — Crude falls again; Russia eyeing new markets in Middle East and Africa

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RIYADH: Oil prices fell more than 2% on Thursday as investors rebalanced their estimations of recession risks and fuel consumption in the face of interest rate hikes in major economies.

By 0330 GMT, US West Texas Intermediate crude futures had fallen $2.6, or 2.7 percent, to $103.46 per barrel.

Brent crude futures fell $2.5 (2.3%) to $109.22 a barrel.

Both benchmarks fell by as much as $3 per barrel in early Asian trading, after falling by around 3% the previous session. They have been at their lowest since mid-May.

Russia seeks gasoline markets in Africa and the Middle East as Europe withdraws.

Russia is expanding gasoline and naphtha supplies to Africa and the Middle East as it struggles to sell fuel in Europe, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and sources, while Asia is already accepting larger volumes of Russian oil.

The development is anticipated to intensify rivalry for Asian clients among Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, the top three suppliers to Asia.

Since March, the EU has gradually decreased its imports of Russian crude and petroleum, and it has agreed to a comprehensive ban that will take effect by the end of 2022.

Despite the fact that Asia is not a natural market for Russian fuel because it refines more oil than it needs and is a net fuel exporter, Asian importers have stepped in to significantly expand purchases of Russian crude.

Finding new markets, such as Africa and the Middle East, is critical for Russia to maintain its worldwide market share and avoid further declines in oil shipments and output.

Norway’s oil service workers have reached a salary agreement.

Two Norwegian labor groups announced new wage agreements with oil service businesses on Thursday, averting a workers’ strike.

Unless an agreement was reached, 646 members of the Safe and Industri Energi unions threatened to strike at Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, and Subsea 7.

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