NEW YORK: Brent crude surged to a near 14-year high of $140 on Sunday as traders worried about the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
North Sea Brent for May delivery hit $139.13 shortly after electronic trading opened around 2300 GMT, heading toward an all-time high in 2008, before retreating slightly over the next hour.
European benchmark crude hit a record price of $147.50 a barrel in July 2008.
Brent crude was slightly down at $128.77 a barrel by 0030 GMT, 9.02% higher than Friday’s close.
The price of a barrel of Brent crude has risen 33% since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
New York benchmark West Texas Intermediate also surged to $130.50 a barrel for April delivery on Sunday. It also dropped slightly over the next hour and a half.
WTI crude was at $125.15 a barrel as of 0030 GMT, up 8.18% from Friday’s close.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Sunday that Washington was in “active discussions” with European countries to ban Russian oil imports as further economic punishment for Moscow, although he did not announce an outright boycott.
Even though the oil remains technically free from sanctions, Russian oil exporters are struggling to find buyers. Shell is one of the few companies still buying Russian oil, although it has said it will donate profits to causes in Ukraine.
Asked on CNN on Sunday about Shell’s announcement, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kouleba urged Shell and other energy majors to cut off Moscow’s biggest source of revenue and “stop buying Russian oil.”
“Russian oil and gas smells of Ukrainian blood,” he said.