Brent crude futures surged above $70 a barrel on Monday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started, while U.S. crude saw its biggest jump in more than two years.
The rise came after the attack on Saudi Arabian facilities on Sunday. Brent crude futures for May surged above $70 a barrel in early Asia trade, hit the highest since Jan 2020.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for April rose $1.60, or 2.4%, to $67.69. The front-month WTI price touched $67.98 a barrel earlier, the highest since October 2018.
Yemen’s Houthi forces fired drones and missiles at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry on Sunday, including a Saudi Aramco facility at Ras Tanura vital to petroleum exports.
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister said an oil storage yard at Ras Tanura, the site of an oil refinery and the world’s biggest offshore oil loading facility, was attacked with a drone but there were no reports of casualties or damage.
Brent and WTI prices are up for the fourth consecutive session after OPEC and its allies decided to keep production cuts largely unchanged in April.
Despite fast-rising crude prices, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister has voiced doubts on demand recovery.
“The decision to keep quotas unchanged signals the group’s intent to drawdown inventories further, without concern of overtightening the market,” ANZ analysts said in a note.
However, the energy minister in the world’s third-largest crude importer, India, said higher prices could threaten the consumption led-recovery in some countries.
Higher prices have also encouraged U.S. energy firms to add oil and natural gas rigs for a second week in a row, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said on Friday.