SINGAPORE: Brent crude oil prices jumped above $65 per barrel for the first time since 2015 after the shutdown of the Forties North Sea pipeline knocked out significant supply from a market that was already tightening due to OPEC-led production cuts.
That marks the first time Brent has risen above $65 since June, 2015.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $58.30 a barrel, up 31 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last settlement.
Britain’s Forties oil pipeline, the country’s largest at a capacity of 450,000 barrels per day (bpd), shut down on Monday after cracks were revealed.
“The market reaction shows that in a tight market, any supply issue will quickly be reflected in higher prices,” said ANZ bank.
The jump in Brent prices widened its premium to WTI prices to almost $7 a barrel, up from around $5 last week, making U.S. oil exports more attractive. CL-LCO1=R
The cheaper WTI is also a result of rising U.S. oil production C-OUT-T-EIA, which has jumped by more than 15 percent since mid-2016 to 9.71 million bpd, levels not seen since the early 1970s.
U.S. production is now also not far off that of top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The rising U.S. output threatens to undermine efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a group of non-OPEC producers, most importantly Russia, to support prices by withholding supplies.
OPEC and its allies started withholding supplies last January and currently plan to continue doing so throughout 2018. —Reuters