Brent Crude Surges as Ukraine Tension Escalates; WTI Advances

Brent crude in London advanced for a second day amid escalating geopolitical tension between Ukraine and Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter. West Texas Intermediate climbed.

The European benchmark contract gained as much as 2 percent after Ukraine, the main conduit for Russian gas to consumers in Europe, mobilized its army reserves and called for foreign observers in Crimea as Russia seized control of the Black Sea region. The U.S. is weighing sanctions against Russia. A winter storm is forecast to coat parts of the U.S. East Coast with snow and ice, boosting the outlook for energy demand, particularly heating fuels.

“The immediate future is one for higher oil and gas prices,” Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S, said yesterday. “We’re not looking at supply disruptions. We’re talking about the overall ramifications in geopolitics and the markets.”

Brent for April settlement increased as much as $2.17 to $111.24 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, and was at $111.04 at 10:50 a.m. Sydney time. The contract climbed 11 cents to $109.07 on Feb. 28, capping the biggest monthly gain since August.

WTI for April delivery gained as much as $2 to $104.59 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. WTI was at a discount of $6.53 to the European benchmark crude, from $6.48 on Feb. 28.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at bsharples@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pratish Narayanan at pnarayanan9@bloomberg.net

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