Title: Oil prices slide as rapid Omicron spread dims fuel demand outlook
Dec 20, 2021 05:20AM ET
Oil prices fell more than 3% on Monday, as rising cases of the Omicron coronavirus in Europe and the United States fueled investor fears that new mobility restrictions imposed to combat the virus's spread would hurt fuel demand.
At 1005 GMT, Brent crude futures were down $2.42, or 3.2 percent, to $71.10 per barrel, while WTI crude futures in the United States were down $2.79, or 3.9 percent, to $68.07.
A curfew was imposed in the Netherlands on Sunday, and several European countries are at risk of further COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.
US health officials on Sunday urged Americans to get vaccinated, wear masks, and use caution when traveling over the winter holidays as the Omicron variant rages globally and prepares to take over in the United States.
Meanwhile, US energy companies increased oil and gas rig counts this week for the second week in a row.
The oil and gas rig count, a proactive factor of future creation, rose by three to 579 in the week finished Dec. 17, the most elevated since April 2020, energy benefits firm Baker Hughes Co. said in its broadly watched report on Friday.
Regardless, lower exchanges from Russia are typical, with items and travel of oil from the country at 56.05 million tons in the fundamental quarter of 2022, down from 58.3 million tons in the last quarter of 2021, as demonstrated by a quarterly product plan seen by Reuters on Friday.
Meanwhile, OPEC+ compliance with oil production cuts was 117% in November, up to one percentage point from the previous month, two OPEC+ sources said, as output continues to fall short of agreed targets.