Iraq’s Kurdish region may be able to gain more autonomy and increase crude exports after taking control of territory around the nation’s fourth-largest oil field, analysts from Saxo Bank A/S and JBC Energy GmbH said.
Brent pared gains as Islamist militants fought Iraq’s government for control of a northern refinery, while the main southern oilfields in OPEC’s second- biggest producer were spared. West Texas Intermediate rose amid forecasts that U.S. oil stockpiles fell.
Crude oil exports from Iraq’s southern terminals in the Persian Gulf are poised to accelerate even as fighting plunges the country’s north into chaos and Islamist militias encroach on towns near Baghdad.
China, the biggest buyer of Iranian crude, cut purchases to the lowest level in five months in January even as its total oil imports rose after trading companies in the two nations failed to renew supply contracts.