The optimism for the U.S. benchmark came after Baker Hughes BHGE, -1.08% reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil was down 4 at 747 last week, breaking a three-week string of rising rig numbers. A drop in rigs implies a slowdown in drilling activity, which is usually boost oil prices. Brent also got a boost from the closure of North Sea Forties pipeline due to a power outage. “The outage of the North Sea’s most important oil and gas pipeline is continuing to lend support,” analysts at Commerzbank said in a note. Click Read More below for additional information.
National Average Price for Regular Unleaded Current: $3.413; Month Ago: $3.340; Year Ago: $2.118. National Average Price for Diesel Current: $3.645; Month Ago: $3.557; Year Ago: $2.391.
“Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are not keen on increased Brent crude prices above $60 a barrel because of shale oil," Iran Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, according to the ministry’s news service Shana. Prices have climbed in recent days because of production cuts and increased demand for petroleum products due to cold weather, he said. U.S. output will rise by at least 830,000 barrels a day this year, JBC Energy GmbH said Tuesday in a note. That could cause U.S. crude prices to “cool” in the first half, the Vienna-based researcher said. The U.S. pumped about 9.34 million barrels a day last year, according to Department of Energy data compiled by Bloomberg. Click Read More below for additional information.
Authorities say nobody has been hurt after a contractor accidentally cut an underground crude oil pipeline in Central Texas and caused about 50,000 gallons (189,265 liters) to spill. A spokesman with Magellan Midstream Partners of Tulsa, Oklahoma, says cleanup has begun at the rural site near Bastrop, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Austin. Emergency responders ordered a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) area evacuated around the spill location, as a precaution. Nearby Farm-to-Market 20 was closed in both directions. Click Read More below for more of the story.