Singapore: World oil prices held steady in Asian trade on Tuesday after once again crashing through record highs and as producers warned sky-high values are here to stay.
Analysts said reports of pipeline sabotage in Nigeria helped boost prices, which have broken records almost every day over the past week.
In morning trade, New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, gained eight cents to $117.56 per barrel.
The benchmark contract had struck a new peak in intraday trading of $117.76 before closing at a record $117.48 on Monday at the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent North Sea crude for June delivery finished at an all-time high of $114.43 a barrel on Monday in London after an intraday record of $114.86.
Anglo-Dutch oil firm Shell said on Monday that it may not be able to honour contracts for April and May after a leading Nigerian militant group attacked two key pipelines of Africa’s top petroleum producer.
Despite the record-high prices, the president of the Opec oil producers’ cartel, Chakib Khelil, said over the weekend that there was no need for an immediate hike in production.
Oil prices are unlikely to fall back below $90, the Venezuelan energy minister Rafael Ramirez said Monday.
Iraqi oil minister Hussain Al-Shahristani argued that an increase in production by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) would not bring the relief the market was calling for, since prices were being driven primarily by speculation.