Crude oil prices have fallen below $50 a barrel again on the back of the ongoing Gulf crisis, compounded by attacks in Iran.
Qatar has been shutoff from trade with neighbouring Arab Gulf states over alleged links to radicals.
The Gulf state’s neighbours have long accused the country of tolerating or even encouraging support for extremist groups, including al Qaida’s Syria branch – all of which Qatar denies.
The fracas pits Qatar – the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas – against Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.
Those countries on Monday severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, leading to suspended flights and regional ports closed to Qatari ships as anxious residents started stockpiling food.
Meanwhile gunmen and suicide bombers have attacked Iran’s parliament and the shrine of its revolutionary leader, killing at least 12 people and leaving dozens more injured.
The Islamic State group has said it was behind the attacks, marking the first time the Sunni extremists have taken responsibility for an assault in Shiite-majority Iran.
The attacks began when assailants armed with Kalashnikov rifles stormed the parliament building, starting a three-hour siege during which one of the attackers blew himself up inside while a session was in progress.
Deputy interior minister Mohammad Hossein Zolfaghari told Iran’s state TV the apparently male attackers wore women’s attire.
All four attackers were killed during the violence.
The IS group’s Aamaq news agency released a 24-second video purportedly shot inside the parliament building during the siege. The video, circulated online, shows a gunman and a lifeless body of a man lying on the ground next to a desk.
A voice on the video praises God and says in Arabic: “Do you think we will leave? We will remain, God willing.” Another voice repeats the same words. The two appeared to be parroting a slogan used by IS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, who was killed in Syria last year.
The militants are at war with Iranian-backed forces in Syria and Iraq, and view Shiites as apostates.
Witnesses reported seeing several police snipers on the rooftops of buildings around the parliament, while attackers were said to be shooting from the fourth floor of the parliament down at people in the streets below.
Police helicopters circled over the parliament building and all mobile phone lines from inside were disconnected. Politicians and reporters were ordered to remain in place inside the chamber during the siege.
Parliament speaker Ali Larijani called the attack a cowardly act, and added: “Iran is an active and effective pillar in the fight against terrorists and they want to damage it.”
Soon after the parliament attack, a suicide bomber and other assailants targeted the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini located just outside the capital.
Khomeini, who died in 1989, is a towering figure in Iran. He led the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah and became Iran’s first supreme leader.
Mizan Online, an Iranian state-run news website, said 12 people were killed and 42 injured in the two attacks.
As of 2:40pm on Wednesday WTI was trading at $47.61 , while Brent was at $49.56.