Oil Prices Hit $80, Highest Since 2014

Oil prices climbed above $80 a barrel Thursday, as US decision to reinstate sanctions on Iran extended a rally that has pushed the market to their highest levels since 2014.

July Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 90 cents, or 1.1percent, at $80.18 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, after tapping a high of $80.33. Prices haven’t seen levels this high since November 2014.

June West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, were up 37 cents, or 0.5percent, at $71.86 a barrel, on track to notch another 3½-year peak.

Thursday’s gains came as European companies pull back from Iran. European companies had said they would stand by the 2015 international nuclear agreement that saw sanctions against Iran eased in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear program. Washington dropped out of that pact last week, sending oil sharply higher on the belief that Iranian supply will be curbed, when crude inventories are already falling.

French oil giant. Total. said Wednesday that it would withdraw from a major gas project in Iran before November if it wasn’t granted a waiver by the U.S. Total had signed a $1 billion deal to develop Iran’s South Pars field.

The U.S. has said it is possible there will be secondary sanctions imposed on European companies who continue to deal with Iran.

Brent prices have climbed almost 20percent in 2018, boosted by output cuts from major producers and increased tensions in the Middle East.

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