Brent crude was projected by Wall Street analysts to average as much as $116 a barrel by the end of the year. Now, with violence escalating in Iraq, how far the price will rise has become anyone’s guess.
The international benchmark surged above $114 on June 13 for the first time in nine months as militants routed the Iraqi army in the north and advanced toward Baghdad, threatening to ignite a civil war. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL, has halted repairs to the pipeline from the Kirkuk oil field to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan in Turkey.
The conflict threatens output in OPEC’s second-biggest crude producer. The Persian Gulf country is forecast to provide 60 percent of the group’s growth for the rest of this decade, the International Energy Agency said June 13. Global consumption will “increase sharply” in the last quarter of this year and OPEC will need to pump more oil to help meet the demand, according to forecasts from the Paris-based IEA.