Tighter Crude Supplies, Low Omicron Threat Raise Oil by 3%
By Adedapo Adesanya
Oil witnessed a 3 per cent rise on Tuesday on expectations of tighter crude supplies and expectations that the spread of the Omicron variant will not derail a global demand recovery.
Consequently, the price of the Brent crude rose by $2.76 or 3.41 per cent to close at $83.63 per barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose by $3.10 or 3.96 per cent to trade at $81.33 per barrel.
The inability of some countries to add to supply is driving prices higher as it is tightening the market, with the recent outages in Libya buoying prices.
The National Oil Corp said it was suspending exports from the Es Sider terminal.
Poor maintenance at export facilities drove the North African producer to shut in exports from the terminal, compounding weather-related woes which have made it hard for tankers to connect to loading facilities at the terminal.
The announcement of new disruptions at Es Sider comes shortly after the El Feel field returned to production. The Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) had halted pipeline flows from the field in December 2021.
This means that it won’t be able to add to supply additions by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which are running below the increase permitted under a pact with its allies.
OPEC and its allies, OPEC+’s inability to ramp up production as quickly as it has agreed to is also lending support to crude oil prices.
While the larger 23-man OPEC+ group has agreed to increase output at 400,000 barrels per day, it has been unable to achieve this volume in any month.
For instance, in December 2021, the smaller 13-member OPEC group managed to increase output by just 70,000 barrels per day up from November, lower than the 253,000 barrels per day that were its share of the 400,000 barrels per day hike that OPEC+ agreed to.
On the demand side, the US Federal Reserve said there are expectations that the economic impact of Omicron to be short-lived.
This is happening as countries refused to return to severe lockdown even as COVID-19 cases continue to surge as seen in demand for jet fuel.
Also adding to the support was a weaker US Dollar because it makes oil cheaper for buyers holding other currencies and tends to reflect a higher risk appetite among investors.
Market analysts expect that US inventories data to show crude stockpiles fell by about 2 million barrels.