Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Crude Futures Soar As Iranian Warships Steam For Suez

Jerusalem - Oil prices skyrocketed from $86 per barrel to a high of $104 and still climbing Wednesday as Israeli government officials learned of two Iranian warships heading for the Suez Canal en route to Syria.

The Suez transit is “something that has not happened for many years,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. "We expect the international community to act speedily with determination against the Iranian provocations, designed to deteriorate the situation in the area, and put the Iranians in their place."

Iranian Navy officials have said the flotilla has embarked on a yearlong training mission that takes it to the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea, according semi-official Fars News Agency.
During the mission, Iranian Navy cadets are due to be trained and prepared for defending the country's cargo ships and oil tankers.

Iranian Navy Commmander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said cadets would be trained to protect ships and tankers now under threat of attack from Somali pirates, Fars said. Part of the mission was also to gather intelligence.

Traders urged caution, saying the uptick in oil prices is merely a trend, nothing serious. They noted reports are as yet vague.

Crude oil for delivery in March rose as much as 1.2% to $85.95 a barrel, following the news. Brent crude, which is traded primarily overseas in Europe, rose as much as 2.1% to $103.31 a barrel.

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