Russia is getting some attention in the oil market today because of what appears to be spreading efforts to lower the price it receives for crude. It's a shipping insurance strategy that's never been tried and sounds extremely tough to execute but it is helping crude at the margins.

A larger brewing story (and unfollowed one) is what's happening in Ecuador. It's a 500k bpd producer but half of that is already offline due to widespread inflation protests in the country.

Ecuador's energy ministry today warned that oil production has reached a "critical" level and may be halted as early as today if protests continue.

WTI crude oil rose $2.19 to settle at $111.76.

Ecuador production