OPEC, allies keep gradually pumping more oil amid omicron

Jan 4, 2022, 4:20 AM | Updated: Jan 5, 2022, 4:41 am

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — OPEC and allied oil-producing countries decided Tuesday to pump more oil to the world economy amid hope that travel and demand for fuel will hold up despite the rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

The 23-member OPEC+ alliance led by oil cartel member Saudi Arabia and non-member Russia said it would add 400,000 barrels per day in February, sticking with a road map to slowly restore cuts in output made during the depths of the pandemic.

Oil prices rose with the news: U.S. crude traded 1.7% higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange, at $77.32 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude was up 1.5%, at $80.28. The decision left few market ripples because it had been broadly expected.

After the first reports about the ultra-contagious omicron variant in late November, oil prices plunged and stocks slid. But prices have since recovered and markets calmed down. Analysts say vehicle traffic and aviation activity suggest that omicron, while it is dominating headlines and raising concerns about hospital capacity, may wind up not drastically reducing demand for fuel.

Oil prices also are being supported because some countries have not been able to keep up with their share of production, limiting supply.

OPEC’s oil production increases are gradually restoring deep reductions made in 2020, when demand for motor and aviation fuel plummeted because of pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions. At times, OPEC+ hasn’t moved fast enough in raising production for U.S. President Joe Biden, who has urged producing countries to open the taps wider to combat surging gas prices and aid the economic recovery.

The U.S. and other oil-consuming countries on Nov. 23 announced a coordinated release of oil from strategic reserves in an effort to contain rising energy prices that have helped fuel inflation and raised politically sensitive gasoline prices for U.S. drivers. Yet Biden’s move is seen as having only a muted effect on prices.

Oil prices climbed more than 50% last year as many pandemic restrictions eased and as the world learned how to better cope with precautions against the virus. The omicron surge comes as the global economy is still in the process of healing: growth has surpassed pre-pandemic levels in the U.S. but is only expected to do so in Europe in the first months of the year.

A recent decline in U.S. gasoline prices — which are significantly influenced by the price of crude — has steadied at a national average of $3.28 per gallon, down from about $3.40 in mid-November. Drivers face different prices depending on where they live — the average price in California was $4.66 per gallon, while drivers in Wisconsin paid $2.99.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Colorado man shoots, kills bear after it entered his home

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado man had a rude awaking early Saturday morning when a roughly 400-pound (181-kilogram) bear flipped the lever doorknob to his home and rummaged through some dog food, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said Monday. The homeowner, Ken Mauldin, grabbed a gun and shot the bear multiple times until it collapsed […]
18 hours ago
An aerial view of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is seen Wednesday, Aug. 10, 202...
Associated Press

Feds oppose unsealing affidavit for Mar-a-Lago warrant

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Monday rebuffed efforts to make public the affidavit supporting the search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s estate in Florida, saying the investigation “implicates highly classified material” and the document contains sensitive information about witnesses. The government’s opposition came in response to court filings by several news organizations, […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Illegal border crossings fall in July but remain high

WASHINGTON (AP) — Migrants were stopped fewer times at the U.S. border with Mexico in July than in June, authorities said Monday, a second straight monthly decline. Flows were still unusually high, particularly among nationalities less affected by Title 42, a pandemic-era rule that denies migrants legal rights to seek asylum on grounds of preventing […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Law enforcement personnel escort the Trump Organization's former Chief Financial Officer All...
Associated Press

Trump Org. CFO expected to plead guilty in NY tax case

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s longtime finance chief is expected to plead guilty as soon as Thursday in a tax evasion case that is the only criminal prosecution to arise from a long-running investigation into the former president’s company, three people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Cops: Suspects in attack on elderly woman are ages 11 to 18

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Three children ages 11, 13, and 14 and an 18-year-old beat and robbed a 70-year-old Asian woman last month inside her San Francisco apartment building and two of them have been arrested, police said Monday. The woman was outside her Chinatown building when the suspects approached her on July 31 and […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones rallies pro-Trump supporters, Nov. 5, 2020,...
Associated Press

Case against Alex Jones can proceed, Connecticut judge says

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A federal bankruptcy judge on Monday cleared the way for a defamation lawsuit in Connecticut to proceed against Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The case was filed by relatives of some victims of the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Jones has falsely claimed the […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
OPEC, allies keep gradually pumping more oil amid omicron