Lagos — The OPEC Reference Basket, ORB, rose firmly in February for the second consecutive month, improving by about 9%, or $5.09, m-o-m to average $63.83/b, according to data from the group’s March Monthly Oil Market Report, MOMR.
The growth, OPEC said was a result of strong crude oil demand for March loading and concerns about tightening oil supply in the coming months amid rising unplanned outages due to technical and geopolitical factors.
All ORB component values increased in February along with their respective crude oil benchmarks and positive monthly changes in their respective official selling prices, OSPs, and crude differentials.
Crude oil futures prices continued their upward trend in February to reach levels not seen since last November.
Oil prices were supported by increasing confidence that the oil market will balance later this year, the better performance of equity markets and growing optimism regarding the possibility of a US-China deal on trade matters.
In February, ICE Brent was on average $4.19, or 7.0%, m-o-m higher at $64.43/b, while NYMEX WTI rose m-o-m by $3.43, or 6.7%, to average $54.98/b.
On an annual average, ICE Brent is $5.25, or 7.8%, y-o-y lower at $62.24/b, while NYMEX WTI decreased by $9.78, or 15.5%, y-o-y to $53.18/b. DME Oman crude oil futures also progressed m-o-m by $4.98 in February, or 8.4%, over the previous month to settle at $64.62/b. On a yearly average, DME Oman was down by $2.75, or 4.3%, y-o-y at $62.01/b.