Crude Oil Prices Rise on Further Ukraine Tensions
A file photograph of oil pipes at Ceyhan port in Turkey.Reuters

Crude oil prices rose on 8 April on renewed tensions over Ukraine after pro-Russia protestors seized government buildings in the eastern city of Donetsk and proclaimed their independence from Kiev.

US crude futures were also supported by speculation over declining US gasoline inventories.

Brent May contract was trading 0.43% higher to $106.39 a barrel at 10:45 BST on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

WTI May contract was trading 0.82% higher to $101.28 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Ukraine Crisis

Heightened Ukraine tensions have raised concerns about oil supplies from Russia, the world's largest energy producer.

Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore said traders were "watching [the situation] closely for clues about Russia's intentions regarding Ukraine."

US Stockpiles

The US industry-funded American Petroleum Institute will release its crude oil supplies data on 8 April while the US government is due to release its weekly report on crude oil stockpiles on 9 April.

US gasoline inventories are forecast to have decreased by a million barrels in the week ended 4 April, according to a Bloomberg poll.

The drop would mark a seventh straight weekly decline.

Libya Oil Crisis

Libyan rebels seeking greater regional autonomy and the government have agreed to open the oil terminals of Zueitina and Hariga in the east of the country.

Two other rebel-controlled ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, are due to open in the coming weeks.

The partial lifting of the blockade on the four terminals, closed for the past eight months, is expected to increase Libya's crude oil exports by about 200,000 barrels per day.

Libya's oil exports have declined 80% in the past eight months following the closures of the oil ports by militiamen.

The country had been producing 1.4 million barrels of oil per day when the rebels seized the ports. The blockade is expected to have cost Libya more than $14bn (£8.4bn, €10.2bn,) in lost revenues.