Oil gains on possible shipping disruptions

27 Feb, 2024

HOUSTON: Oil prices rose in early US trading on Monday on expectations of tighter supply and the risk of disruptions to shipping, analysts said.

Brent crude futures were up 54 cents, or 0.66%, to $82.17 a barrel at 10:17 a.m. CST (1617 GMT). US West Texas Intermediate crude futures (WTI) climbed 69 cents, or 0.9%, to $77.18.

Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen narrowly missed hitting a US-flagged tanker on Saturday, the US Central Command said. Another vessel hit by the rebels last week was abandoned and has been seen leaking fuel in the Red Sea.

“We seem to be slipping back to the supply side issue,” said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group. “Demand is very strong and at the end of the day, it’s about supply and demand.

Refiners are also expected to begin restoring production in March following the completion of planned plant overhauls at US refineries, Flynn said.

US refinery utilization has been at 80.6% of national capacity for the past two weeks, the US Energy Information Administration said last week.

Oil prices have been trading between $70 and $90 a barrel since November as rising US supply and concern over weak Chinese demand offset OPEC+ supply cuts despite wars raging in Ukraine and Gaza.

As the Israel-Hamas conflict continues in the Middle East, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday that negotiators for the United States, Egypt, Qatar and Israel had agreed on the basic contours of a hostage deal during talks in Paris but were still in negotiations.

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