Yesterday, the Financial Times reported the international oil benchmark rose as high as $99.50 a barrel, as traders calculated the possibility of disrupted supply from Russia. It later
trimmed its gains to $96.53 a barrel, up 1.2 per cent on the day. Brent crude futures jumped to a high of US$97.40 a barrel - their highest since September 2014 and natural gas was up nearly 7 percent to US$4.74 per million British thermal units, according to The Straits Times, one of Asia’s leading financial news sources.
Oil is expected to top $100 today as the Biden-generated crisis in Ukraine ramps up.
CNBC reminded its readers that Russia is one of the world’s largest oil-and-gas producers, and fears that it could invade Ukraine have driven the rally in oil toward the $100-per-barrel mark. Russia has a capacity of about 11.2 million barrels per day, said Nishant Bhushan, senior oil market analyst for Rystad Energy.
“Any disruption of oil flows from the region would send Brent and WTI prices skyrocketing higher far above $100, in a market struggling to supply the increased demand for crude as economies recover from the pandemic,” Bhushan said.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, has struggled to deliver monthly pledges to increase output by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) until March.
“The market remains hyper-sensitive to the developments over the Russian/Ukraine situation,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in New York. “This is now intensifying to a terrific degree. Right now, it’s buy now, ask later.”
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $2.36, or 2.5%, to settle at $95.46 a barrel, after hitting $95.82, the loftiest since September 2014.
“One of the very few definitive things we can see from this crisis is that energy prices are going higher,” said Bastien Drut, chief thematic macro strategist at CPR Asset Management, in the Financial Times report. “Even if there is no further escalation in Ukraine, the main consequence is still going to be higher inflation.”
For anyone keeping track these highs were measured against the top prices seen the last time Joe Biden and his team of Obama administration retreads were in the White House.
The market fears that the crisis could take additional turns for the worse and disrupt Russian energy exports, either with Western sanctions against Russian oil and gas supply, or with Moscow weaponizing its oil and gas exports. Russia’s oil and gas supply to the global market cannot be replaced quickly, analysts and industry officials say.
Brent Crude prices could hit as much as $120 per barrel by the middle of this year, Bank of America analysts said. Fundamentals justify a near-term jump in prices with global demand set to continue to rebound and exceed pre-pandemic levels, BofA added according to reports in OilPrice.com.
It looks increasingly unlikely that OPEC will change its strategy if oil prices hit $100, with several of the cartel’s members claiming they don’t see the need to boosting production, wrote Irina Slav of OilPrice.com.
Ms. Slav reported the Chief executive of Vitol expects oil prices to climb to $100 and remain at that level for an extended period of time. Major Wall Street banks, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley, expect prices to hit $100 a barrel as soon as this year. Some analysts forecast even higher prices, up to $150 per barrel of Brent crude, reported Ms. Slav.
And the practical effect of this could get “rather ugly” according to GasBuddy.com.
The national average price of gas has increased 3 cents a gallon in the last week, averaging $3.51 a gallon yesterday.
“With tensions still very high that Russia may invade Ukraine, gasoline prices kept moving higher, tugged by the rising price of oil as the market concentrates on possible outcomes from the situation that could affect global oil production amidst recovering demand,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
You can call Joe Biden at the White House at 202-456-1111 or email him through this link. Tell him thanks to his feckless foreign policy and destruction of America’s energy security America’s working families are suffering. If oil goes to $120 to $150 a barrel Americans will soon be forced to choose between food and fuel.
World Oil Prices
Joe Biden policies
Keystone XL pipeline
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)