FILE PHOTO: A pump jack is seen at sunset near Midland, Texas, U.S., on May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder
TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices surged on Thursday after a unit of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy said it was aware of an incident involving a tanker in the Gulf of Oman near the Iranian coast.
Reports of a tanker on fire in the Gulf of Oman followed the earlier sabotage attacks on vessels near the Fujairah emirate, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs and located just outside the nearby Strait of Hormuz.
Brent crude futures were up $2, or 3.3%, at $61.97 a barrel by 0646 GMT.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up $1.41, or 2.7%, at $52.55 a barrel.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which is part of the UK Royal Navy, said on Thursday that it was aware of an incident in the Gulf of Oman, near the Iranian coast.
“UK and its partners are currently investigating,” it said.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said on May 29 that naval mines “almost certainly from Iran” were used to attack the tankers off the United Arab Emirates last month, and warned Tehran against conducting new operations.
Tensions in the Middle East have escalated since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 multinational nuclear pact with Iran and reimposed sanctions, notably targeting Tehran’s key oil exports.
Iran says it will not be cowed by what it has called psychological warfare.
Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Tom Hogue