* Risk of supply disruptions seen from Iran to Venezuela
* Syria conflict has also helped push up prices
* Supply risks come amid OPEC-led production cuts
* Coming up: API U.S. inventories data
(Recasts throughout, adds comments, updates prices)
By Ayenat Mersie
NEW YORK, April 17 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Tuesday,
as support from the possibility of supply disruptions and a
strong equities market offset the effects of profit-taking
following last week's rally above three-year highs.
Brent crude oil futures gained 16 cents to settle at
$71.58 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures rose 30 cents
to settle at $66.52.
"It seems as though the volatility has, for the most part,
dissipated and part of that can be attributed to the lack of
escalation in the events over the weekend, and we have an S&P
that's a little bit stronger today," said Brian LaRose,
technical analyst at United-ICAP.
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
were both up about 1 percent Tuesday.
Over the weekend, the United States and allies launched air
strikes on Syria, raising concerns about continued access to
regional crude supplies.
Such concerns compounded existing supply worries related to
the possibility of renewed U.S. sanctions against Iran and
falling output in troubled Venezuela.
Brent has risen 1.8 percent so far this month. It hit a peak
last week of $73.09, the highest since late 2014.
"The rally upwards was purely on geopolitical risk and if
now we haven't had any further stimulus, we're seeing prices
slip off a bit," Natixis commodities strategist Joel Hancock
Still, analysts expected uncertainty over the Iran nuclear
deal to continue to support prices through May 12, the deadline
that U.S. President Donald Trump gave to Congress and European
allies to "fix" the deal.
If Washington does not renew sanctions relief, Iran may have
difficulty exporting crude.
Bullish enthusiasm over the outlook for oil prices, however,
might be contained by an increase in supplies in Cushing,
Oklahoma, the delivery point for U.S. crude futures.
"We've seen that front May-June spread in WTI swing back
into contango today. And that's somewhat of a bearish...it
implies a continued up trend in Cushing crude supply," said Jim
Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates.
"There's not much volatility today, as we wait for API and
EIA data," Ritterbusch said.
The American Petroleum Institute publishes weekly U.S.
inventory data later on Tuesday, while data from the Energy
Information Administration (EIA) is due Wednesday.
"If we can...move higher tomorrow that would be a
constructive sign," said LaRose.
"We want to see follow through in order to be sure that this
is a break out and not a fake out," he said.
(Additional reporting by Amanda Cooper in London; Henning
Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David
First Published: 2018-04-17 03:31:49
Updated 2018-04-17 21:50:45
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