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Shell shares hit record high as Israel-Hamas war drives up oil price

Shell’s share price has hit a record high after concerns over the fallout from the Israel-Hamas conflict pushed up the price of oil.

Oil prices surged over the past week in the wake of the outbreak of war, and Shell shares gained 1.5% on Monday to increase its stock price as high as 2,763p a share.

Brent crude has risen by more than 7% since the start of the war to more than $90 (£74) a barrel. Shell’s share price has gained 6.5% over the same period.

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The energy company’s commercial value has shot up by nearly 10% to £183bn since 4 October when the Opec+ cartel, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, promised to maintain cuts to oil supplies around the globe.

Seema Shah, the chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management, said: “The critical macro concern lies with the oil market reaction. Brent crude prices have not risen materially, but a significant escalation in tensions would likely apply further upward pressure.

“Global economic growth is by no means immune, but the fall in global energy intensity in recent decades implies a smaller growth impact than in the 1970s.”

Ricardo Evangelista, the senior analyst at ActivTrades, said: “The sudden price increase felt on Friday came as traders pondered on the developments in Israel and started to price in the potential disruption to the global oil supply that may emanate from the conflict.”

“The big question mark surrounds a possible spillover of the confrontation, which could affect major oil producers in the region, and how such a scenario could affect the global supply of crude. Against this background, uncertainty will remain high, in a dynamic likely to continue to support the price of the barrel.”

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Shell has faced sustained criticism over the past 18 months after reporting bumper profits, aided by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which caused global energy prices to soar.

The International Energy Agency said last week that while the Israel-Hamas conflict had not yet had a direct impact on physical supply, energy market participants would “remain on tenterhooks” as the crisis unfolds.

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In its latest report, it noted: “Against a backdrop of tightly balanced oil markets anticipated by the IEA for some time, the international community will remain laser focused on risks to the region’s oil flows.”

Analysts last month predicted oil prices may near $100 a barrel, although a range of factors could prevent a sustained rally above that level, Reuters reported.

They include a projected rise in non-Opec production, in addition to Russia’s need to boost supply to increase revenue and the potential for oil demand to slow given already-high interest rates in big western economies.