OPEC and its non-OPEC allies, known collectively as OPEC+, decided to raise its output target by 400,000 barrels per day from next month. The move had been broadly expected given U.S. pressure to boost supply and no major new Covid restrictions.
Led by OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC leader Russia, the energy alliance is in the process of unwinding record supply cuts of roughly 10 million barrels per day. The historic production cut was put in place in April 2020 to help the energy market after the coronavirus pandemic cratered demand for crude.
“Oil prices are still hovering around $80 a barrel, that’s probably higher than what [U.S. President] Joe Biden wants,” Herman Wang, managing editor of OPEC and Middle East news at S&P Global Platts, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe” on Tuesday. International benchmark Brent crude futures traded at $79.87 a barrel during afternoon deals in London, up around 1.1%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures stood at $76.89 a barrel, roughly 1% higher.
Oil prices climbed more than 50% last year, with energy investors optimistic that the highly infectious omicron variant may be less severe than feared. That’s despite Covid infections reaching new record highs, with the U.S. reporting a global daily record of over 1 million infections in just 24 hours.