By Oke Peter
Oil prices rose on Monday, over supply concerns in the Middle East and as the U.S. market showed further signs of tightening while demand in Asia keeps rising.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $57.84.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $52.03 per barrel.
The amount of U.S. oil rigs drilling for new production fell by seven to 736 in the week to Oct. 20, the lowest level since June, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday. RIG-OL-USA-BHI
Much will depend on demand to guide prices, with the U.S. market tightening, flows from Iraq reduced due to fighting between government forces and Kurdish militant groups.
Again, production is still being withheld as part of a pact between the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers to tighten the market.
In the main growth areas of Asia, consumption remains strong especially in China and India, the world’s number one and three importers.
India imported a record 4.83 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in September as several refiners resumed operations after extensive maintenance to meet rising local fuel demand.
The country’s September imports stood 4.2 percent above this time last year and about 19 percent more than in August, ship-tracking data from industry sources and Media Analytics showed.
Given the tightening oil market conditions, many analysts expect prices to rise further.