Crude jumps, US oil closes over $99 on new Russia fears


Crude oil rose on Friday, as traders scrambled to cover short positions after the U.S. and EU imposed sanctions on Russia, the world's second largest oil producer, renewing fears of a supply disruption.

The European Union imposed sanctions against the Russian deputy prime minister, two aides to President Vladimir Putin and nine others on Friday.

Those added to the nearly two dozen prominent Russians Washington sanctioned on Thursday, including Gennady Timchenko, co-founder of oil trading firm Gunvor.

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Within hours of Thursday's sanctions, Gunvor announced Timchenko had sold his near 50 percent stake in the company to allow the firm, which handles almost 3 percent of global oil supplies, to avoid disruptions to its operations.

Brent for May delivery rose by $1 to over $107 per barrel, having earlier spiked near $108 per barrel. Brent remained on track for a fourth weekly loss, however.

A seasonal slump in demand has led to a near 5 percent price slide since the beginning of March, when crude briefly jumped to a three-month high above $112 as Russia took control of Ukraine's Crimea region.

U.S. crude for May delivery, which became the front-month contract on Friday, rose by 56 cents to settle at $99.46 per barrel.

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