Oil prices jumped as much as 3 percent on Monday amid renewed speculation that OPEC would try to restrain output, easing oversupply worries that had sent the market to three-month low last week.
International benchmark Brent futures were trading at $45.41 per barrel at 12:46 p.m. ET (1646 GMT), up $1.14, or 2.6 percent.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $43.02 per barrel, up $1.22, or 2.9 percent.
The rise came on the back of a Wall Street Journal report late last week that OPEC countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Kuwait wanted to take another stab at cooperation between the 14-nation Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-members such as Russia.
The last such initiative failed in April after Saudi Arabia backed out of talks in Doha, Qatar, citing Iran’s refusal to join in a so-called production freeze.
The Qatar’s Energy Minister and OPEC President, Mohammad bin Saleh al-Sada, said in a statement that the producer group was in “constant deliberations with all member states on ways and means to help restore stability and order to the oil market.”
The statement added that an informal meeting of OPEC member countries was scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum, which groups producers and consumers, in Algeria from Sept. 26-28.
Russia, the world’s biggest oil producer, poured cold water on Monday on a new production freeze plan.
“The position of Russia is that the prerequisites for this have not yet come to pass, considering that prices are still at a more or less normal level,” Energy Minister Alexander Novak, said, adding that he remained open to negotiations.
Jim Ritterbusch of Chicago-based oil markets consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates, said. “OPEC appears to be concerned about the apparent bottoming in U.S. oil rig counts that have been lifted to highest levels since March,” said
“Add in the possibility that global oil demand growth may be slowing and it would appear that OPEC calls for restraint would be inevitable.” (Reuters)