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Oil prices drop 2% on unsubstantiated ceasefire reports, refinery shutdown

NEW YORK, February 3 ------ Oil prices fell over 2% after unsubstantiated reports of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and after a power outage forced a large U.S. refinery to shut. 


A Qatari official told Reuters there was no ceasefire yet, but repeated that Hamas had received a ceasefire proposal made earlier this week positively. Brent crude futures dropped $1.85, or 2.5%, to settle at $78.70 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell $2.03, or 2.7%, to $73.82. 


Tensions in the Middle East have recently boosted oil prices. Attacks by Yemen-based Houthi forces on vessels in the Red Sea have persisted, driving up costs and disrupting global oil trading. The Houthi group also said it would keep up attacks on U.S. and British warships in what it called acts of self-defense. Meanwhile, BP Plc (BP.L), opens new tab on Thursday said it was in the process of shutting down its 435,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Whiting, Indiana, refinery after a power outage. The City of Whiting said the power outage prompted visible flaring as products were burned off. 




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