Oil price is on a recovery path with the commodity reaching a two-week high thanks to surge in share market and rising tensions in the Middle East.
Brent crude was up 89 cents at $65.73 a barrel at 1802 GMT, after rising to an 11-day high of $65.75 a barrel earlier in the session yesterday. European shares rose for a fourth straight session, with global stocks set for a sixth session of gains, following a sell-off triggered by fears of creeping inflation and higher borrowing costs.
March delivery prices for the U. S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 82 cents at $62.50 a barrel, after earlier gaining as much as 1.44 percent to its highest since Feb. 7. According to analysts the increase in oil prices has at its base the benign stock market and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.
Israel’s stand on Iran is being seen as one of the major factor. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said last Sunday that the country could act against Iran itself, not just its allies in the Middle East, after border incidents in Syria brought the Middle East foes closer to direct confrontation.
The U.S. oil rig count, an indicator of future production, rose by seven to 798, its highest since April 2015, according to a weekly report from General Electric’s Baker Hughes unit. This is for the first time since June that drillers added rigs for four consecutive weeks, and the figure was well up on the 597 rigs that were active a year earlier as energy companies have boosted spending since mid-2016 when crude prices began recovering from a two-year crash.
Surging U. S. production is offsetting efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some other producers including Russia to curb production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of 2018.
Money managers slashed their bullish bets on Brent crude futures by the most in nearly eight months in the week to Feb. 13, InterContinental Exchange data showed.
Speculators also cut net long U. S. crude futures and options positions in the week to Feb. 13 by the most since late August, the U. S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said.
Oil pricing agency Platts is looking at adding new oil production from the Johan Sverdrup oilfield to its global dated Brent crude benchmark, to ensure liquidity is maintained.