Oil extended gains above $66 a barrel as Saudi Arabia said it intercepted ballistic missiles fired by Houthi forces in Yemen, marking an escalation from previous rocket launches at the kingdom.
Futures in New York rose as much as 1 percent after a 2.5 percent gain Friday. The missiles were intercepted over Riyadh and other cities, according to the Saudi Press Agency and state television El-Ekhbariya. Concern over a conflict with the world’s largest crude exporter overshadowed a pick up in drilling in the U.S., where rigs targeting oil expanded by four to 804, according to Baker Hughes data released Friday.
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery climbed as much as 67 cents to $66.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and traded at $66.27 at 9:11 a.m. in Tokyo. The contract rose $1.58 to $65.88 on Friday. Total volume traded was about 34 percent above the 100-day average.
Brent for May settlement rose as much as 60 cents to $71.05 a barrel the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract advanced $1.54 to $70.45 on Friday, the highest level since late January. The global benchmark traded at a $4.49 premium to WTI.