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Picture: BLOOMBERG/ANDREY RUDAKOV
Picture: BLOOMBERG/ANDREY RUDAKOV

New Delhi — Oil prices firmed on Monday as the market kicked off 2022 on a positive note with suppliers in focus ahead of Tuesday’s Opec+ meeting, although surging Covid-19 cases continued to dent demand sentiment.

Brent crude added 59c, or 0.76%, to $78.37 a barrel, as of 4.40am GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 63c, or 0.84%, to $75.84 a barrel.

“Tightened supplies from Libya ahead of an Opec+ meeting kept market sentiment positive,” said Abhishek Chauhan, head of commodities at Swastika Investmart.

Libya’s state oil firm said on Saturday the country’s oil output would be reduced by 200,000 barrels per day for a week due to maintenance on a main pipeline between the Samah and Dahra fields.

Meanwhile, oil cartel Opec+ will probably stick to their plan to add 400,000 barrels per day of supply in February, four sources said.

In 2021, oil prices rose about 50%, spurred by the global economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic slump and producer restraint, even as infections reached record highs worldwide.

Graphic: RUBY-GAY MARTIN
Graphic: RUBY-GAY MARTIN

US health experts warned Americans to prepare for severe disruptions in coming weeks, with infection rates likely to worsen amid increased holiday travel, New Year celebrations and school reopenings following winter breaks.

Oil analysts have lowered their price forecasts for 2022 as the Omicron coronavirus variant poses headwinds to recovering fuel demand and risks a supply glut as producers pump more oil, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

A survey of 35 economists and analysts forecast that Brent crude would average $73.57 a barrel in 2022, about 2% lower than the $75.33 consensus in November. It is the first reduction in the 2022 price forecast since the August poll.

US crude is projected to average $71.38 per barrel in 2022, vs the previous month's $73.31 consensus.

US energy firms added oil and natural gas rigs for a record 17 months in a row as higher prices lured some drillers back to the well pad after 2021’s coronavirus-driven decline in demand.

US crude oil production rose to 11.47-million barrels per day in October, up 6% from a month earlier, as output soared in the Gulf of Mexico as the region recovered from hurricanes, according to a monthly report issued on Thursday by the Energy Information Administration.

Reuters

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