Oil Up, Investors Awit OPEC+ Supply Decision

© Reuters.

By Gina Lee – Oil was up Thursday morning in Asia, reversing the previous day’s losses. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) could pause adding supply amid growing concerns about the omicron COVID-19 variant’s risk to economic recovery and fuel demand.

were up 0.42% to $69.29 by 9:44 PM ET (2:44 AM GMT) and rose 0.75% to $66.06.

“Oil prices climbed as some investors anticipate that OPEC+ will decide to maintain the current supply levels in January to cushion any damage on demand from the Omicron spread,” Fujitomi Securities Co. Ltd. analyst Toshitaka Tazawa told Reuters.

OPEC+ will meet later in the day, where it is likely to decide whether to release more oil into the market as per its plan or restrain supply. The cartel has been adding an additional 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of output to global supply each month since August 2021.

However, omicron’s discovery has introduced uncertainty, with some investors now predicting that OPEC+ could pause these additions to avoid a supply glut.

Omicron is quickly becoming the dominant COVID-19 variant in South Africa less than four weeks after it was first discovered in the country, with the U.S. reporting its first case on Wednesday.

The U.S. could adjust the timing of its planned release of strategic crude oil stockpiles if global energy prices drop substantially, said Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk.

Meanwhile, Wednesday’s showed a draw of 910,000 barrels in the week to Nov. 26. Forecasts prepared by predicted a 1.237-million-barrel draw, while a 1.017-million build was recorded during the previous week.

released a day earlier, showed a draw of 747,000 barrels.

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