(London) REUTERS: Oil prices hovered near 13-month highs yesterday on the back of a cold snap shutting wells in Texas, the biggest crude producing state in the United States, while a wage deal in Norway averted outages in Europe, capping gains.
Prices also gained after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group said it had launched attacks on Saudi Arabia, raising supply concerns in the world’s biggest oil exporter, while vaccine-driven optimism over a global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic also supported.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 41 cents, or 0.7 percent, to US$ 59.88 a barrel by 0836 GMT, after touching their highest since early January 2020. U.S. markets were closed on Monday because of a U.S. federal holiday.
Brent crude was down 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, at US$ 63.23 a barrel after hitting its highest since January 2020 in the previous session.
The cold weather in the United States halted Texas oil wells and refineries on Monday and forced restrictions on natural gas and crude pipeline operators, leaving about 4 million homes and businesses without power.
Texas produces roughly 4.6 million barrels of oil per day and is home to 31 refineries, the most of any U.S. state, according to Energy Information Administration data, including some of the country’s largest.
In the Middle East, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen said on Monday that it had intercepted and destroyed an explosive-laden drone fired by the Houthis toward the kingdom.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday listed AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, widening access to the relatively inexpensive shot in the developing world.
Capping prices gains, Norway’s oil industry employers struck a wage bargain with the Safe labour union on Tuesday, preventing a strike at the Mongstad crude terminal and shutdowns of major offshore oil and gas fields.
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