Oil Rises Above $78 on Optimism About 2022 Outlook

By Reuters
January 3, 2022 Updated: January 3, 2022

LONDON—Oil rose above $78 a barrel on Monday, supported by tight supply and hopes of a further demand recovery in 2022.

OPEC and its allies, or OPEC+, are expected on Tuesday to agree to the output hike. The Omicron coronavirus variant has brought record case counts and dampened New Year festivities worldwide, with more than 4,000 flights canceled on Sunday.

Brent crude was up 39 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $78.17 a barrel at 1444 GMT, having earlier risen as high as $79.05. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude slipped 25 cents or 0.3 percent, to $74.96.

“Infection rates are on the rise globally, restrictions are being introduced in several countries, the air travel sector, amongst others, is suffering, yet investors’ optimism is tangible,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

“In a nutshell, 2021 demonstrated that the war against the coronavirus is a winnable one although the path to victory is paved with unexpected twists and turns.”

Oil gained some support from an outage in Libya. Oil output will be cut by 200,000 barrels per day for a week due to pipeline maintenance.

Last year, Brent rose 50 percent, spurred by the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and OPEC+ supply cuts, even as infections reached record highs worldwide.

Some see more gains in 2022.

“Crude and oil product prices should benefit from oil demand moving above 2019 levels,” said a report from UBS analysts including Giovanni Staunovo. “We expect Brent to rise into [an] $80–90 range in 2022.”

By Alex Lawler