Oil Prices Reach Highest Level Since 2014 on Iran Sanctions Fears, OPEC-Russia Cuts

Global oil prices hit their highest levels since late 2014 in early trading Tuesday, pushed up by expectations of renewed U.S. sanctions against Iran and as OPEC continues withholding supplies amid strong demand, Reuters reported.

Brent crude futures LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, climbed as high as $75.20 in early trading on Tuesday, levels not seen since November 2014. Brent was still at $74.89 a barrel at 0109 GMT, up 18 cents, or 0.2 percent from its last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $68.84 a barrel, up 20 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last settlement.

Prices previously dipped on Monday as a rising U.S. rig count implied further increases in output, and Washington eased sanctions on Russian aluminum giant Rusal.

Markets have been lifted by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which were introduced in 2017 with the aim of propping up the market, as well as by the potential of renewed U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

The United States has until May 12 to decide whether it will leave the Iran nuclear deal and instead impose new sanctions against Tehran.

The generally elevated oil prices have also sparked a spat between U.S. President Donald Trump and OPEC.

Trump on Friday accused OPEC of “artificially” boosting oil prices, threatening on Twitter that this “will not be accepted”, drawing rebukes from several of the world’s top oil exporters within OPEC.