Oil prices mostly flat as Antony Blinken visits Riyadh

Oil prices were little moved in early trading on Tuesday, as market participants assessed a visit to the Middle East by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss a ceasefire offer in the region.

Secretary Blinken in Riyadh

Blinken met Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman on Monday in Riyadh.


Palestinians hope the visit will clinch a truce before a threatened Israeli assault on Rafah, a border city where about half the Gaza Strip population is sheltering.

The ceasefire offer, delivered to Hamas last week by Qatari and Egyptian mediators, awaits a reply from the group who say they want more guarantees it will bring an end to the four-month-old war.

Oil prices flat

Brent crude futures were down 2 cents at $77.97 a barrel as of 00:01 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures edged down 3 cents to $72.75. Both contracts gained nearly 1 per cent on Monday, rising for the first time in four sessions.

The US continued its campaign against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, whose attacks on shipping vessels have disrupted global oil trading routes.

In Russia, two Ukrainian drones struck the largest oil refinery in the country’s south on Saturday, a source in Kyiv told Reuters. It was the latest in a series of long-range attacks on Russian oil facilities, which has reduced Russia’s exports of naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock.

Market participants awaited industry data due later on Tuesday on US crude stockpiles. Five analysts polled by Reuters estimated on average that crude inventories rose by about 2.1 million barrels in the week to February 2.