Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brent crude oil futures topped $70 a barrel for the first time on Monday, and US crude oil prices were reported to hit their highest level in more than two years after Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities were attacked.
Brent crude futures for May reached $71.16 a barrel in early Asian trade and were at $70.76 a barrel by 0036 GMT, up $1.40, or 2%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for April rose $1.32, or 2%, to $67.41. The front-month WTI price touched $67.86 a barrel earlier, the highest since October 2018.
“Oil prices have spiked higher this morning after Iran-backed Houthi rebels unleashed a coordinated attack on Saudi Arabia oil facilities and military bases,” Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at Axi said in a note.
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, in what Riyadh called a failed assault on global energy security.
Brent and WTI prices are up for the fourth consecutive session after OPEC and their allies decided to keep production cuts largely unchanged in April.
Despite the rapid increase in crude oil prices, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister still expressed doubts about the recovery in demand.
However, the energy minister of India, the world’s third-largest crude oil importer, said that rising oil prices may threaten the recovery of lead consumption in some countries.