Brent crude futures rose above $70 first time since COVID pandemic started whereas US crude was its highest in two years.

Brent crude futures surged above $70 a barrel on Monday for the primary time for the reason that COVID-19 pandemic started, whereas US crude touched its highest in additional than two years, following studies of assaults on Saudi Arabian services.

Brent crude futures for Might hit $71.38 a barrel in early Asian commerce, the very best since January 8, 2020, and have been at $71.11 a barrel by 02:55 GMT, up $1.75, or 2.5 p.c.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for April rose $1.60, or 2.4 p.c, to $67.69. The April WTI worth touched $67.98 a barrel earlier, the very best since October 2018.

Yemen’s Houthi forces fired drones and missiles on the coronary heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil trade on Sunday, together with a Saudi Aramco facility at Ras Tanura important to petroleum exports, in what Riyadh referred to as a failed assault on international vitality safety.

Ras Tanura is the world’s largest oil terminal, able to exporting roughly 6.5 million barrels a day – almost 7 p.c of oil demand – and as such is closely protected. The port contains a big storage tank farm the place crude is stored earlier than it’s pumped into super-tankers.

The drone and missile assaults have been intercepted and crude manufacturing seemed to be unaffected. However the newest in a sequence of assaults claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels led oil costs to climb above $70 a barrel.

‘Additional upside’

The assaults are essentially the most severe in opposition to Saudi oil installations since a key processing facility and two fields got here below hearth in September 2019, slicing manufacturing for a number of days and exposing the vulnerability of the dominion’s petroleum trade. That was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, though Riyadh pointed the finger at archrival Iran.

“We might see additional upside available in the market within the near-term, significantly because the market most likely now must be pricing in some kind of danger premium, with these assaults selecting up in frequency,” ING analysts mentioned in a report, noting that this was the second assault this month following an incident in Jeddah on March 4.

Brent and WTI costs are up for the fourth consecutive session after OPEC and its allies determined to maintain manufacturing cuts largely unchanged in April.

Regardless of fast-rising crude costs, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister has voiced doubts a few strong restoration in international vitality demand.

“The choice to maintain quotas unchanged indicators the group’s intent to drawdown inventories additional, with out concern of over tightening the market,” ANZ analysts mentioned in a notice. “It additionally suggests they see little menace from rising output elsewhere.”

Nonetheless, the vitality minister on the planet’s third-largest crude importer, India, mentioned greater costs might threaten the consumption led-recovery in some international locations.

Larger costs have additionally inspired US vitality companies so as to add oil and pure gasoline rigs for a second week in a row, vitality companies agency Baker Hughes Co mentioned on Friday.