Crude oil prices extended their gains from Thursday on news that peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have stalled, with both Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate adding more than 2 percent shortly after the start of trade today. Oil prices later gave up some of those gains.
Negotiations have been ongoing, and earlier this week, the Financial Times reported, citing unnamed sources close to the talks, that "significant progress" had been made on a peace plan, albeit tentative, and on a ceasefire agreement.
Negotiators cited by Al Jazeera, however, have said that the position of the two sides was still far from reconciliation, which acted as more fuel for oil prices.
"Our delegation is putting in colossal effort," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told media on Thursday. "I repeat again, our delegation...is ready to work around the clock and has demonstrated such readiness - but unfortunately we don't see such zeal from the Ukrainian side."
"Negotiations are complicated. The positions of the parties are different. For us, fundamental issues are inviolable," Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said, as quoted by Reuters.
Meanwhile, adding more fuel under oil prices, President Biden called Russia's Vladimir Putin "a war criminal" after Ukrainian President Zelensky's speech to Congress.
These latest developments have reinforced uncertainty on the oil market, further enhanced by an unsuccessful visit of the UK's Prime Minister to the UAE and Saudi Arabia to try and get them to agree to boost production after the ruler of both countries refused to speak to President Biden.
According to the Wall Street Journal, neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE—the two OPEC members with the spare capacity to increase output substantially—want to risk a breakup of the OPEC+ group.
The U.S. is not giving up: later this month Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will reportedly visit Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to RBC Capital markets' Helima Croft, where he is likely to discuss the oil problem the West is having.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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