Supply jitters push up the price of oil
Libyan pipeline maintenance constricts output, while Kazakhstan protests add to caution
Melbourne — Oil prices rose on Friday as an uprising in Kazakhstan stoked worry that crude supply from the oil producer could be disrupted at the same time as output has dropped in Libya.
Brent crude futures climbed 48c, or 0.6%, to $82.47 a barrel by 0127 GMT, adding to a 1.5% jump in the previous session. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 50c, or 0.6%, to $79.96 a barrel, extending a 2.1% gain in the previous session.
“The upward jump in oil prices mostly reflects the market jitters as unrest escalates in Kazakhstan and the political situation in Libya continues to deteriorate and sideline oil output,” Rystad Energy analyst Louise Dickson said in emailed comments.
After days of unrest in Kazakhstan, during which the government declared a state of emergency, Russia on Thursday sent in paratroopers to quash the uprising. The protests began in Kazakhstan's oil-rich western regions after state price caps on butane and propane were removed on New Year's Day.
Brent and WTI were on track to post a 6% gain in the first week of the year, with prices at their highest since late November, as supply concerns overtook worries that the rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant might hurt demand.
Supply additions from oil cartel Opec, Russia and allies, a grouping called Opec+, are not keeping up with demand growth.
Opec’s output in December rose by 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the previous month, well short of the 253,000 bpd increase allowed under the Opec+ supply deal, which restored output that was slashed in 2020 when demand collapsed under Covid-19 lockdowns.
Production in Libya has dropped to 729,000 bpd, down from a high of 1.3-million bpd last year, partly due to pipeline maintenance work.
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