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Oil prices rise on nagging fears of fuel shortages

Oil prices rise on nagging fears of fuel shortages

Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, in Cushing, Oklahoma, US, Mar 24, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Nick Oxford)

NEW YORK: Oil prices rose on Tuesday, as lingering fears of gasoline shortages due to the outage at the largest US fuel pipeline system after a cyber attack brought futures back from an early drop of more than 1 per cent.

Benchmark gasoline futures prices rose 1 cent to US$2.14 a gallon.

On Monday, Colonial Pipeline, which transports more than 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, said it was working to restore much of its operations by the end of the week.

"Right now there's a generalised anxiety premium being built into prices because of Colonial and it's keeping a floor under the market," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

Fuel supply disruption has driven gasoline prices at the pump to multi-year highs and demand has spiked in some areas served by the pipeline as motorists fill their tanks.

Traders booked at least four tankers to store refined oil products off the US Gulf Coast refining hub after a cyber attack that knocked out the pipeline, shipping data showed on Tuesday.

North Carolina, the US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation issued waivers allowing fuel distributors and truck drivers to take steps to try to prevent gasoline shortages.

OPEC on Tuesday raised its forecast for demand for its crude by 200,000 bpd and stuck to its prediction of a strong recovery in global oil demand this year as growth in China and the United States counters the coronavirus crisis in India.

Meanwhile, the rapid spread of infections in India has increased calls to lock down the world's second-most populous country and the third-largest oil importer and consumer.

India's top state oil refiners have already started reducing runs and crude imports as the new coronavirus cuts fuel consumption, company officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

On the bullish side for crude, analysts are expecting data to show US inventories fell by about 2.3 million barrels in the week to May 7 after a drop of 8 million barrels the previous week, a Reuters poll showed.

Gasoline stocks are expected to have fallen by about 400,000 barrels, analysts estimated ahead of reports from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday and the US Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.

Source: Reuters

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