Oil futures moved higher on Monday, extending their gains in anticipation of OPEC+ deepening production curbs to prop up prices, which have declined for four weeks due to waning concern about Middle Eastern supply interruptions from the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
By 07:00 GMT, the price of a barrel of Brent crude had increased by 66 cents, or 0.8%, to $81.27, while the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude in the United States had increased by 60 cents, or 0.8%, to $76.49.
The more active January futures climbed 65 cents, or 0.9%, to $76.69 a barrel as the front-month December contract was allowed to expire later Monday.
Both contracts finished trading 4% higher on Friday as a result of three OPEC+ sources telling Reuters that the producer group, which is comprised of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their allies, including Russia, is going to explore whether to impose more oil production cutbacks when it meets on November 26. This news caused both contracts to close trading higher.
Since late September, oil prices have fallen by roughly twenty percent, and prompt inter-month spreads for Brent and WTI entered contango just last week. In a market with contango, current prices are lower than those for subsequent months, which indicates that there is sufficient supply.
According to Jorge Leon, senior vice president of oil market research at Rystad Energy, Saudi Arabia, which is the de facto leader of OPEC, is balancing the desire to maintain oil prices high by limiting supply with the understanding that doing so will lead to a further decrease in total market share. Jorge Leon said this in a client note. Saudi Arabia is the leader of OPEC.
“Oil markets will be looking to see if Saudi Arabia extends these cuts into 2024 or if it chooses to gradually unwind them or simply let them expire at the end of this year,” said Leon, citing estimates from the International Monetary Fund that put Saudi Arabia’s oil budget break-even price at $86 per barrel. “Our analysis suggests that the Saudis will need to keep giving away market share, at least until June 2024, to achieve that price level.”
Regarding the probability that OPEC+ will announce deeper cutbacks at its upcoming meeting, IG analyst Tony Sycamore suggested that WTI prices may surge toward $80 a barrel. However, a decline below $72 will push the Biden administration to refill the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
“All of which suggests that a price rebound is likely in the first half of this week,” Sycamore said. Following the imposition of sanctions by the United States government on three ships that were transporting Sokol crude to India, investors are also keeping a watch on the potential for disruption in the flow of Russian crude oil.
On Friday, Moscow relaxed a prohibition on the export of gasoline, which may contribute to the available supply of motor fuel worldwide. This resulted from Russia removing most restrictions placed on fuel exports one month ago.
Baker Hughes, an energy services provider, reported on Friday that United States energy companies had added oil and gas rigs for the first time in three weeks during the last week. The number of oil and gas rigs sometimes indicates future production levels.
Despite the violent fighting in the Middle East, officials from the United States and Israel have stated that an agreement to rescue some of the hostages being held in the enclave of Gaza that is under siege is getting closer.