Global oil prices yesterday hit the highest level since March rising above $48.86 per barrel as hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine rollout within weeks brightened the outlook for fuel consumption.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained more than 3 per cent to climb $48.86 per barrel.
The last time WTI Crude traded at $45 per barrel was eight months ago, in early March this year, just before Saudi Arabia and Russia disagreed on how to manage oil supply in the pandemic and started a brief oil price war that contributed to the price collapse together with the demand destruction.
The surge in crude prices has accompanied a slew of positive updates from pharmaceutical companies on their progress toward a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Monday, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca said that interim trial data from their Phase III trials show their candidate vaccine is effective at preventing COVID-19 and offers a high level of protection.
Since the first announcement from Pfizer, the energy sector has been one of the biggest winners on the market, having been the worst hit when demand initially crashed in the pandemic.
Shell Shuts Facility
Meanwhile, unidentified persons attacked oil facilities operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) at Ikarama community, Yenagoa local government area of Bayelsa State.
A youth leader in the community, Mr Ben Warder said, “The site is not far from Ikarama, we heard sounds from the blast and it sounded like dynamites and it was not safe to go near.
“So, when the situation became quiet we had to trace what happened and it turned out that Shell’s gas pipeline and Agip’s crude lines were destroyed.
“The incident resulted in air pollution from the gas pipeline and crude leak which members of the affected communities are battling to cope with,” Warder said.
Confirming the incident, an SPDC spokesman, Mr Michael Adande, said the oil firm had received reports of the incident and shut down the facility to curtail impact.
“We have report of interference on our pipeline about 1 kilometre from Ikarama Community in Bayelsa State. We immediately shut-in the line and we have informed the relevant regulatory government agencies and stakeholders. A government-led joint investigation team will determine the cause of the interference,” Adande said.
The breach was reported on Monday on the pipeline, which carries gas to the SPDC-operated Gbaran gas plant, an SPDC spokesman said.
“We immediately shut in the line and we have informed the relevant government agencies and stakeholders,” SPDC said in a statement. A government-led investigation will determine the cause of the breach”, he added.
The local subsidiary of Eni is a joint-venture partner on the line, but did not immediately comment.