Oil prices lost more than 4% during intraday trading on Monday, with Brent slipping below $100 a barrel over easing supply worries from plans to release emergency oil reserves of 120 million barrels, and from reduced demand due to the worsening COVID-19 restrictions in the world's second-largest oil consumer, China.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $98.63 per barrel at 1254 GMT for a 4.03% decrease after closing the previous session at $102.78 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $93.84 per barrel at the same time for a 4.49% loss after the previous session closed at $98.26 a barrel.
Prices have come under pressure since International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries last week confirmed the largest-ever oil release from their emergency stocks in response to significant oil market strains.
The announcement of a release of 120 million barrels from emergency stockpiles came after the agency said on March 1 that it would release about 62.7 million barrels.
The US is the largest contributor to both releases. Earlier in April, US President Joe Biden also announced the release of 180 million barrels, or 1 million barrels per day for six months, to drive down prices at the pump and 'ease the pain that families are feeling.'
The worsening COVID-19 outbreak in China continues to exert downward price pressure.
As many countries are gradually easing COVID-19 mandates, China, in line with its zero-covid strategy, has put almost 28 million people under strict lockdown in Shanghai. The country on Sunday reported 1,351 confirmed coronavirus infections, including nine in Shanghai.
Last week, authorities extended the lockdown and restrictions in the city for an indefinite period, and are continuing a citywide campaign to test millions of residents.
Investors will monitor supply and demand data from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Tuesday and the IEA on Wednesday.
OPEC had earlier said it would stop using IEA data to assess compliance with its production quotas.
OPEC agreed to replace IEA data with consultancy Wood Mackenzie and Rystad Energy as secondary sources while assessing the crude production levels of member countries.
The fear of a possible ban on Russian oil and gas is limiting further price declines.
Although EU countries have so far avoided directly targeting Russian oil and gas exports, they are planning to propose an EU oil embargo on Russia, the foreign ministers of Ireland, Lithuania and the Netherlands said on Monday.
By Sibel Morrow