Oil prices rallied on Thursday as investors shrugged off a rise in U.S. crude stockpiles and focused on tightening supply in Canada and Libya. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose 2.3% to $45.65 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 2.9% at $45.06 a barrel. The rally was partly fueled by news of production outages in Canada, where raging forest fires in the oil-rich province of Alberta forced oil-sands companies to shut down or slow operations. Canada produces around 4.5 million barrels a day of oil, of which 2.3 million barrels a day comes from oil sands.
National Average Price for Regular Unleaded
Month Ago: $2.909
Year Ago: $2.256
National Average Price for Diesel
Month Ago: $3.195
Year Ago: $2.444
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West Texas Intermediate futures were little changed, having climbed above $60 a barrel on Tuesday for the first time since 2015. The pipeline, which carries crude to Libya’s biggest export terminal, is said to need about a week for repairs. The operator of the critical Forties Pipeline System in the North Sea lifted all restrictions on flows caused by a crack earlier this month. Libya’s production dropped to 950,000 barrels a day on Wednesday, a person directly involved in the matter said. Output was 1.08 million barrels a day as of Dec. 18, indicating a decline of 12 percent. Loadings at Es Sider port are said to be down about 50 percent. The port was scheduled to ship 13 cargoes this month, each carrying 600,000 barrels of crude, according to a loading plan obtained by Bloomberg. Click Read More below for additional information.
NIOC will sell the Forozan Blend in May for Asian customers at $2.43 a barrel below the average of the Oman and Dubai benchmark grades, according to the company official. That’s 3 cents lower than state-run Saudi Aramco’s price for the similar Arab Medium variety for a third month, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Forozan was at a premium of 7 cents to the Saudi oil for February sales. The Iranian Heavy grade will sell in May to Asia at a discount of $2.60 a barrel to the Oman-Dubai average while the Soroosh variety’s price was set at $5.65 a barrel below Iranian Heavy, according to the official.