Brent Climbs As Iraqi Oil Supplies Are Threatened


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Brent crude oil reached above $115 on Friday morning as the crisis in Iraq continued to worsen.

The commodity traded at $115.02 at 6:15 GMT, set to finish its second consecutive week on a gain.

Baiji, Iraq's largest oil refinery, is under direct threat from Sunni militants who have completely surrounded the facility. Iraqi officials have said that the refinery is still in their control, however there are reports from witnesses in the area that some members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, or ISIS, have begun to set Beiji's storage tanks on fire.

Though Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has asked for military support from the US in the form of an air strike, the White House has been reluctant to intervene in that way.

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Instead, CNBC reported that Obama is planning to send 300 military advisers to Iraq and will consider military action in the future if necessary. Earlier this week, the Obama administration stressed their concern with helping to solve the underlying political issues that have created support for an extremist group like ISIS.

The fighting in Iraq is sending oil prices higher as the Beiji refinery is responsible for much of Iraq's domestic oil needs. If it were to be shut down for a prolonged period, the nation would have to resort to importing oil, something that would diminish global supplies even further.

The nation's southern oil fields haven't been threatened to date, but most foreign oil companies have begun to evacuate staff from the country as a civil war looks more and more likely to be on the horizon.  

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