Oil prices fell roughly 13% Wednesday, the biggest one-day slide in two years, after Iraq and the UAE signaled support for higher production from OPEC. Prices also were pressured after the International Energy Agency said it could release more oil from strategic reserves.
Energy futures were higher in late-morning trading today, with WTI up 1.1% at $109.90/bbl, Brent up 2.0% at $113.30/bbl and U.S. natural gas up 1.8% at $4.61/MMBtu.
The U.S. government raised its forecast for the average price of Brent crude this year from $82.87/bbl to $105.22/bbl.
The average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. rose to $4.25 Wednesday, topping the previous day’s all-time high of $4.17. Gas prices are up 15% since last week and 21% since last month.
European gas futures plunged 43% Wednesday, tracking a widespread drop in prices for commodities.
European gas prices have surged to new heights between $50-60/MMBtu just as LNG exporters in the U.S. complete several projects to deliver more supplies internationally. Over 160 cargoes were sent to Europe in the first two months of 2022, topping the previous record of 125 in 2020, as the U.S. government predicts exports to continue rising in the years ahead:
European governments are scrambling to source thermal coal shipments from around the world to replace Russian gas, sending benchmark prices to all-time highs as countries reconsider policies that phased out the fuel.
The White House is considering sanctions on Rosatom Corp., Russia’s state-owned atomic energy company and a major supplier of fuel and technology to power plants around the world.
Despite Russia’s attack, Ukraine continues to gather COVID-19 data, reporting 40,265 infections and 758 deaths last week, down significantly from the prior week. Health officials worry the mass migration from the invasion could prompt a spike in infections.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases across the globe surpassed 450 million yesterday, even as new cases fall in most parts of the world, the World Health Organization said.