Oil prices rise as US cold snap boosts demand

Tuesday 07 January 2014 12.35
Extremely cold Arctic air has swept across a huge swath of the US
Extremely cold Arctic air has swept across a huge swath of the US

Global oil prices rebounded today as a cold snap in the US boosted demand for heating fuel, analysts said. 

New York's main contract West Texas Intermediate for February delivery rose 37 cents to $93.80 a barrel. Brent North crude gained also 37 cents to stand at $107.10 in London deals.

Both contracts closed lower yesterday as a Libyan oil field stepped up production after the government convinced residents to lift a five-month blockade.

Dangerously cold Arctic air has swept across a huge swath of the US, making travel treacherous, forcing schools to close and prompting officials to urge residents to stay indoors.

A shift in a weather pattern known as the "polar vortex" triggered a drastic drop in temperatures to lows not seen in two decades, and coincided with wind chill warnings in much of the east of the country.

US demand is a key driver for crude prices as it is the world's largest economy and the biggest oil consuming nation.

Prices however are likely to be under downward pressure over the longer term owing to ample supplies and an expected stabilisation in demand, analysts have said.

Production at Libya's Al-Sharara oilfield rose to 207,000 barrels per day yesterday, up from 60,000 on Saturday, according to a Libyan oil official.