Oil prices have witnessed a bumpy ride in the last few weeks, largely as a result of uncertainties in the global oil market sphere.
Among them are the political and economic instability in Venezuela and speculations that Saudi Arabia and Russia are ready to exit the supply cuts agreed on by members and non-members of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The agreement, which was first reached in December 2016, is expected to last till December 2018.
As at May 17, oil price surged to its highest level in close to four years, hitting $80 a barrel — the first time since November 2014.
Brent crude, the international benchmark against which Nigeria’s crude oil is set, briefly hit $80.18 before dropping to $79.67 per barrel.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures peaked at $72.30 a barrel, also its highest.
Brent traded at $76.97 while WTI eased to $66.39 per barrel, as US crude oil production rose to a record 10.8 million barrels per day.
On Wednesday, crude prices received support in early trade on concerns about exports from Venezuela.
A significant OPEC member, the South American country is struggling to meet supply obligations, with dozens of containers stuck in port, awaiting oil.
Reuters reports that the containers are waiting to load more than 24 million barrels of crude.
Prices also rose when Mustapha Guitouni, Algeria’s energy minister, said OPEC would focus on balancing the market rather than extending production restrictions at its next meeting on June 22.
“What matters to us is that there is a balance between supply and demand to ensure the stability of the oil markets,” he is quoted to have said.
On Friday afternoon, Brent traded at $76.83 per barrel, down 0.6%, from their last close, while WTI was also down by 0.3%, at $65.72 a barrel.