Oil prices soar to highest since 2008 as US considers banning Russian crude

Crude rallies to above $130 a barrel as Washington and its European allies consider enhancing their sanctions against Moscow for its military offensive in Ukraine

A trader on the the New York Stock Exchange. Oil prices have rallied as the US and EU discuss banning the import of Russian crude. AP

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Oil prices soared above $130 a barrel in early trading on Monday, their highest since 2008, after the US said it is considering banning the import of Russian crude and is discussing such a move with its European allies, in a bid to freeze the world's second largest energy exporter out of global markets and isolate Moscow economically for its military offensive in Ukraine.

Brent, the global benchmark for two thirds of the world's oil, hit $139.13 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the gauge that tracks US crude, jumped to $130.50 in early trading.

Both key benchmarks receded by 4.10pm UAE time, but remained high, with Brent up 6.16 per cent at $125.4 per barrel and WTI 6.33 per cent higher at $123.

Brent hit a record high of $147.02 on July 11, 2008 amid the global financial crisis, while WTI soared to $146.90.

"We are now in very active discussions with our European partners about banning the import of Russian oil to our countries, while of course, at the same time, maintaining a steady global supply of oil," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview on NBC's Meet the Press show.

Oil prices could hit $180 a barrel and cause a global recession, according to Japan's largest lender MUFG Bank.

"Should the prevailing Russia-Ukraine conflict intensify in the coming weeks and broaden to include energy sanct