Kurdish oil supplies may be in jeopardy as Turkey, Iran and the Iraqi central government in Baghdad sought to isolate the semi-autonomous Kurds as balloting began.
Meanwhile, Opec and its partners implemented more than 100% of their agreed cuts last month, Opec secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo said late last week, providing more fuel to the oil rally.
“It’s pretty clear the Kurds are going to vote for independence and we will have yet another geopolitical hot spot in the Middle East that threatens a significant amount of oil supply,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital, a New York-based hedge fund, said.
At the same time, “the co-operation and the strong effort by Opec is registering with the market”.
US crude prices have risen 9.6% this month as US refiners recovered from Hurricane Harvey and both Opec and the International Energy Agency sweetened their worldwide demand forecasts. At the same time, US explorers reduced the number of rigs searching for crude last week to the lowest level since June.
Yet, there’s still speculation an extension of the Opec-led deal beyond March may be needed to rebalance the markets.
Brent for November settlement advanced $1.61 to $58.47 a barrel, after earlier touching $58.48, the highest intraday price since July 15.