opec: Oil prices up by more than $2 per barrel after OPEC decision

OPEC and allied oil producing countries have stayed with their cautious approach to restoring oil production slashed during the pandemic, agreeing to add 400,000 barrels per day in November. The decision Monday by the Vienna-based oil cartel tracks with its established schedule of adding back that amount of oil every month until the cuts made during the depth of the pandemic recession are restore.

The decision comes amid tighter oil markets, as driving and flying pick up around the globe due to the easing of restrictions aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The price of a barrel of crude jumped by 3%, or $2.32, to $78.17 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

OPEC and its partners are looking at a “significantly tighter oil market” than at their September meeting when there were lockdowns in parts of China and fears about the spread of the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, said Louise Dickson, senior market analyst at Rystad Energy.

Oil traded up 0.3% at $76.12 per barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while international benchmark Brent crude traded up 0.4% at $79.63. Brent briefly topped $80 per barrel last week, underlining concerns about prices in the US, where higher crude prices can mean costlier gasoline for motorists.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised concerns about rising oil prices when he met officials in Saudi Arabia earlier this week in talks that largely focused on the war in Yemen, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Sullivan and other members of his delegation reiterated the importance of creating conditions to support the global economic recovery caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the official added.

Earlier this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said White House officials have stayed in communication with OPEC about prices and were looking for tools to address the issue as Brent crude topped $80 per barrel last month, the highest price in nearly three years.

US national average gasoline prices have been holding steady at around $3.20 per gallon in recent days, according to motoring club federation AAA, which foresaw stable short-term gas prices with supply and demand “largely in sync.” The average is 97 cents more than a year ago.

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