MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices jumped to a three-year high above USD85 a barrel on Friday, on forecasts of a supply deficit over the next few months, spurred by rising demand due to the easing of travel restrictions, reported Reuters.
Brent crude futures were up 77 cents, or 0.9%, at USD84.77 a barrel at 11:48 a.m. EST (15:48 GMT). Front-month prices, which touched their highest since October 2018 at USD85.10, were headed for a weekly rise of 3%, which would be their sixth straight weekly gain.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 87 cents, or 1.1%, to USD82.19 a barrel. The contract is heading for a 3.5% gain on the week, up for the eighth consecutive week.
Demand has picked up with the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with a further boost from power generators who have been turning away from expensive gas and coal to fuel oil and diesel.
The White House said it will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals effective Nov. 8, which should boost jet fuel demand.
Meanwhile, a sharp drop in OECD and US oil stockpiles is expected to keep global supply tight.
The International Energy Agency on Thursday said the energy crunch is expected to boost oil demand by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd). That would result in a supply gap of around 700,000 bpd through the end of this year, until the Organization of the Petroleum Countries and allies, together called OPEC+, add more supply, as planned in January.
As MRC informed before, US commercial crude stocks fell 3.48 million barrels to 413.96 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 17, to more than 8% below the five-year average, Energy Information Administration data showed. Stocks were last lower Oct. 5, 2018.
We remind that in late August, 2021, US crude stocks dropped sharply while petroleum products supplied by refiners hit an all-time record despite the rise in coronavirus cases nationwide, the Energy Information Administration said. Crude inventories fell by 7.2 million barrels in the week to Aug. 27 to 425.4 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 3.1 million-barrel drop. Product supplied by refineries, a measure of demand, rose to 22.8 million barrels per day in the most recent week. That's a one-week record, and signals strength in consumption for diesel, gasoline and other fuels by consumers and exporters.
We also remind that US crude oil production is expected to fall by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 to 11.12 million bpd, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a monthly report, a smaller decline than its previous forecast for a drop of 210,000 bpd.