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Oil Prices Extend Gains Due To Gulf Storm

Oil prices rose on Thursday to extend gains from the previous session amid concerns that Tropical Storm Barry could derail crude production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Three Iranian boats have "attempted to impede" a British oil tanker in the Gulf, further deepening tensions in the vital shipping channel off Iran.

Benchmark Brent crude rose 0.6 percent to $67.41 a barrel, after hitting its highest level since May 30 at $67.65 earlier in the day.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up half a percent at $60.74 a barrel, after having touched their highest level since May 23 at $60.94.

Both benchmarks jumped more than 4 percent on Wednesday as data showing a continued draw-down in U.S. crude inventories and the possibilities of a tropical disturbance becoming a storm alleviated concerns about oversupply.

All eyes are on the Gulf of Mexico as Barry is forecast to intensify quickly in the next couple of days. Sometime Friday, the system is expected to become the first hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic season, according to forecasters

Meanwhile, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has denied reports that its naval forces attempted to obstruct a British-flagged commercial oil tanker as it sailed in the Persian Gulf.

Oil prices also remain supported by data showing a decline in U.S. inventories. U.S. crude stocks fell by 9.5 million barrels in the week to July 5, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report on Wednesday.

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