September 22, 2019 / 11:36 PM / a month ago

Middle East tensions lift oil prices more than 1%

* Pentagon orders additional troops to be deployed in Mideast

* Pompeo says U.S. aims to avoid war with Iran

* Exxon, Valero restart units at Texas refineries after storm

By Florence Tan

SINGAPORE, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Oil prices gained more than 1% to hit their highest levels in two sessions at the start of Monday’s trade as Middle East tensions remained elevated, supporting prices.

The Pentagon has ordered additional troops to be deployed in the Gulf region to strengthen Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defences following an attack on Saudi oil facilities.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the troops are for “deterrence and defence” and Washington aimed to avoid war with Iran.

Brent crude futures touched an intraday high of $65.50 a barrel, but eased to $64.97, up 69 cents by 2323 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $58.78 a barrel, up 69 cents, after earlier hitting a high of $59.39.

In the United States, the impact of Tropical Storm Imelda on refineries in Texas has eased as Exxon Mobil Corp and Valero Corp restarted their crude processing units over the weekend. (Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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