Crude falls on Japan earthquake, easing worries on Saudi turmoil

11 March 2011 09:10  [Source: ICIS news]

 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Crude futures have fallen on Friday, with ICE Brent down by more than $2/bbl at one stage, following news that a powerful 8.9-magnitude earthquake has hit northeastern Japan and triggered a tsunami.

At 08:00 hours GMT, April Brent on London’s ICE futures was trading at $113.52/bbl, down by $1.91/bbl from the previous close, after earlier falling to a session low of $112.83/bbl.

April NYMEX light-sweet crude futures were trading at $101.14/bbl, down by $1.56/bbl from the previous close, after previously declining to an intra-day low of $100.87/bbl.

The earthquake hit Miyagi prefecture in northeast Japan, while the resultant tsunami hit both the Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. There are tsunami warnings for about 15 more countries.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy has shut three of its refineries as a result of the earthquake, a source close to the company said.

This includes its 145,000 bbl/day Sendai refinery located in Miyagi prefecture, its 189,000 bbl/day crude oil refinery at Kashima in Ibaraki prefecture and its 270,000 bbl/day Negishi refinery, the source added.

In addition, Cosmo Oil’s 220,000 bbl/day refinery in Chiba was also shut down, said a separate source.

Meanwhile, the downward pressure on crude prices was exacerbated by a stronger US dollar and easing worries over the turmoil in Saudi Arabia, after a muted start to the planned “Day of Rage” in the kingdom, according to media reports.

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By: James Dennis
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