Title: Oil steady as rising Libyan output offsets supply worries
Jan 17, 2022 07:10AM ET
Oil prices were steady on Monday as investors' bets that global supply would remain tight amid reluctance from major producers were offset by a rise in Libyan production.
Brent crude was down 24 cents, or 0.3%, at $85.82 a barrel at 1200 GMT. Earlier, the contract hit a high of $86.71 for the first time since October 3, 2018.
US crude West Texas Intermediate rose 2 cents, or less than 0.1%, to $84.99 a barrel, having earlier hit $84.78, its highest since November 10, 2021.
Hectic oil buying, driven by supply disruptions and signs that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 won't hurt fuel demand as much as feared, pushed some crudes to multi-year highs, suggesting the rally in Brent futures could continue for a while, traders said.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their allies, collectively known as OPEC+, are gradually easing production cuts introduced after demand collapsed in 2020.
Many smaller producers are unable to increase supply, and others are reluctant to pump too much oil in case of another COVID-19 setback.
According to the National Oil Corp, Libya's total oil production has now risen again to 1.2 million barrels per day. Due to the blockade of western oil fields, Libyan production was around 900,000 barrels per day last week.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Monday it was up to the US government to decide whether to release supplies from the strategic oil reserves.