Crude oil prices increased Tuesday as US President Donald Trump returned to the White House after he tested positive for COVID-19 last week, and with escalating strikes in Norway which forced the closure of six oilfields.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $41.51 per barrel at 0620 GMT for a 0.53% increase after closing Monday at $41.29 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $39.41 a barrel at the same time for a 0.48% increase after ending the previous session at $39.22 per barrel.
Oil prices climbed after Trump was discharged from the hospital where he was receiving treatment for the novel coronavirus. Trump’s improving health status revived hopes for the long-awaited US coronavirus relief package, which also bolstered prices.
Prices were additionally propped up when six offshore oil and gas fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf were forced to shut down after a trade union stepped up its strike. Norwegian Oil and Gas Company said the extension of the strike may cut production by 8% or nearly 330,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Threats of another storm in the Gulf of Mexico, which is due to reach the Gulf by midweek, resulted in energy companies evacuating staff on their offshore oil platforms, reducing oil stocks on the market and aiding an upward price trend.
By Sibel Morrow