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Oil prices rise after Russia bans diesel and gas exports

Oil was up more than 1% on Friday following a Russian export ban on diesel and gas.

West Texas Intermediate (CL=F) climbed back above $90 per barrel, while Brent (BZ=F) futures rose above $94.

Russia says the export ban, which has no end date yet, is intended to replenish its own supply and reduce prices domestically.

"Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of diesel. How this decision ultimately impacts domestic prices for refined products in the US will depend on the duration of this move," KPMG US energy leader Angie Gildea told Yahoo Finance on Friday.

It's worth noting the EU and US have largely already banned imports of Russian refined fuel due to the start of Moscow's war against Ukraine.

However "any shrinking in global oil supply, absent demand shrinking too, will drive energy prices up – including in the US," said KPMG's Gildea.

The ban comes at a time when prices at the pump in the US are coming off their 2023 highs. The national average for gas is at $3.86 while diesel sits at $4.58, according to AAA. Diesel is used in everything from trucks transporting goods to ships carrying cargo.

"I believe the [Russian] rhetoric will help promote further diesel spikes and perhaps may fortify crude by a few dollars per barrel," OPIS global head of energy analysis Tom Kloza told Yahoo Finance.

However, Kloza believes the US will see easing gas prices, with the exception of some Western states.

"For nearly all of the country, we are now 'past peak' for gas prices," said Kloza.

"Consumers may see gasoline prices ease, even as they hear of $95-$100 [per barrel] crude. The 'cracks' or the margins above crude for gasoline have been epic, and they are destined to narrow by quite a bit," he added.

Additionally, the US is entering the season for winter-grade gasoline, which is less expensive to produce and could also help bring down prices at the pump.

A view of a gas station as gas prices are at the highest level from last year.
A view of a gas station as gas prices are at the highest level from last year in Virginia, United States on August 16, 2023. (Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Energy prices have steadily increased since late June. Crude output cuts imposed by OPEC+ and unilateral supply curbs from Saudi Arabia and Russia, two of the alliance's members, have helped send crude futures up about 30% over the past three months.

A growing number of Wall Street analysts are predicting $100 oil. Goldman Sachs recently became the latest firm to lift its crude target for the next 12 months.

"We have nudged up our 12-month ahead Brent forecast from $93/bbl to $100/bbl as we now expect modestly sharper inventory draws," wrote Daan Struyven, Goldman's head of oil research, and his team.

"The key reason is that significantly lower OPEC supply and higher demand more than offset significantly higher US supply," he added.

Ines Ferre is a senior business reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre.

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