U.S. oil futures end higher, but off the day’s best levels as traders weigh a potential European ban on Russian oil

U.S. oil prices finished with a gain Thursday, finding support from reports that the European Union is working on a plan to phase out oil imports from Russia. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday said during a press conference that it was essential for the EU to end its dependence on Russian energy, but also warned that a total embargo on energy imports from Russia would lead to sharp prices increases in Europe, according to a report from The Hill. Yellen “realizes that a total ban on Russian oil and gas could have consequences for Europe’s economy,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at The Price Futures Group. West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery rose $1.60, or 1.6%, to settle at $103.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after touching a high of $105.42.

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