By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices were steady in early trade on Tuesday, sitting on losses of nearly 3% from the previous session after supplies began to resume in Norway and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Libya resumed production at its largest oilfield.

The return of supply comes as resurgent COVID-19 infections in the U.S. Midwest and Europe raise worries about fuel demand growth, posing a challenge for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, together called OPEC+.

OPEC+ has curbed supply to help shore up oil prices amid coronavirus pandemic, with cuts of 7.7 million barrels per day due to hold through December. The producers’ market monitoring panel is due to meet next Monday.

“It won’t be a huge surprise if finally the alliance decides to address the worsening situation and amend its action,” Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets, Bjornar Tonhaugen, said in a note.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude <CLc1> futures inched up 1 cent to $39.44 a barrel at 0117 GMT, while Brent crude <LCOc1> futures rose 2 cents to $41.74 a barrel.

With workers returning to U.S. Gulf of Mexico platforms after Hurricane Delta and Norwegian workers returning to rigs after ending a strike, all eyes were on Libya, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which on Sunday lifted force majeure at the Sharara oilfield.

The country’s total output on Monday was at 355,000 bpd and will double if the Sharara field gets back to pumping at the 300,000 bpd it was producing before the Libyan National Army blockaded energy exports in January.

“That would effectively add 0.3% of global oil supply in a very short time frame,” Commonwealth Bank commodities analyst Vivek Dhar said in a note.

Stoking worries about fuel demand, curbs

Crude-oil futures finished Monday at their lowest price in a week, with production in Libya, Norway and the Gulf of Mexico set to recover.

Libya lifted force majeure at its largest oil field, producers began restoring output in the Gulf of Mexico following Hurricane Delta, and crude output in Norway looked to recover following the end of an oil-worker strike.

West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery

fell $1.17, or 2.9%, to settle at $39.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. December Brent crude

lost $1.13, or 2.6%, at $41.72 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Front-month WTI, the U.S. benchmark, and global benchmark Brent on Monday both marked their lowest settlements since Oct. 5, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

With the passing of the hurricane and the resolution of the strike in Norway, “investors are more concerned about the higher output in the face of subdued demand,” said Mihir Kapadia, chief executive of Sun Global Investments, in emailed comments. “However, more disruptions in the Gulf are likely in the coming weeks as the hurricane season continues. This could see prices increase again as workers will be expected to halt production during this time. ”

Hurricane Delta hit Louisiana as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of over 100 miles an hour on Friday. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement estimated Monday that 69.4% of oil output in the Gulf of Mexico remained shut in due to the storm, along with 47.1% of natural-gas production. That’s a big improvement from Sunday, when 91.01% of oil output and 62.15% of natural-gas production were shut in.

Offshore output was returning in the aftermath of the hurricane, said Robbie Fraser, senior commodity analyst at Schneider Electric, in a note.

The year 2020 has seen

(Bloomberg) — Oil dropped the most in more than a week with Gulf of Mexico production starting to resume and Libya reopening its biggest field.


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Futures in New York declined 2.9%, falling to its lowest in a week and breaching its 100-day moving average in a sign of further selling pressure ahead. Global benchmark Brent futures settled below both its 100-day and 200-day moving averages.

A string of supply disruptions that have supported prices subsided. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BHP Group and Chevron Corp said they have begun resuming operations at Gulf of Mexico platforms. Earlier, Libya’s National Oil Corp. lifted force majeure on the nation’s largest field, which will reach its daily capacity of almost 300,000 barrels in 10 days, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

“Delta was mostly priced in last week on the high side,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. “People are taking the profits now that it has moved on.”

graphical user interface, chart: Brent settles below key technical levels as supply disruptions abate

© Bloomberg
Brent settles below key technical levels as supply disruptions abate

Along with supply disruptions easing in the U.S. and Libya, the cancellation of a workers’ strike in Norway is returning more output to a market facing anemic demand due to the pandemic. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tighten restrictions as infections rise, while Italy and the Netherlands are also considering new measures. Meanwhile, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are mulling whether to proceed with a plan to restore more output in January.

“They look at the balances as carefully as anybody else, and they’re looking at what the demand picture is,” said Andrew Lebow, senior partner at Commodity Research Group. “It’s highly unlikely that they’re going to pursue a tapering strategy. If anything, they might talk about having to reduce

a sign on the grass: San Felipe Street 5555 outside address stand with Marathon Oil Tower tenants on February 2016 in Houston, United States.

© Source: Valentin Martynov/
San Felipe Street 5555 outside address stand with Marathon Oil Tower tenants on February 2016 in Houston, United States.

Let’s face it. Oil companies in the United States are suffering, and they have been for much of the year. Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) is no different and shares of MRO stock have taken up residence in Penny Stock Land.

a sign in front of a tree: San Felipe Street 5555 outside address stand with Marathon Oil Tower tenants on February 2016 in Houston, United States.

© Provided by InvestorPlace
San Felipe Street 5555 outside address stand with Marathon Oil Tower tenants on February 2016 in Houston, United States.

Oil – black Gold – Texas tea – is kind of on the ropes, thanks to a combination of events.

Paramount among these events is the novel coronavirus. The pandemic spawned by Covid-19 has devastated the global economy. Almost any company associated with the travel industry, from airlines to hotel owners to oil companies, has nearly been crushed by the rapid and intense economic slowdown.

Consumers dramatically altered their lives in response to the pandemic. They stayed home (and shopped online). Trips were canceled. Airplanes were parked because travelers were few. And layoffs and business closures have been legion.

One ripple effect has been a sharp drop in the demand for oil. As a result, prices for the historic commodity have fluctuated widely. The volatility has been impressive. It wasn’t that long ago that the price of oil was actually a negative number, a numerical oddity that stunned many investors with a clear indication that this was not a normal situation.


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What About MRO Stock?

The Houston-based energy firm, which has a market cap of about $3.46 billion, can trace its roots to 1887 and Standard Oil, taking twists and turns over the century-plus to even be a part of United States Steel.

Few people would describe Marathon Oil as a

(Bloomberg) —


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U.S. stocks climbed to an almost six-week high amid a rally in giant technology companies as traders awaited earnings from banks and news on a fresh round of economic stimulus.

The S&P 500 extended gains into a fourth day, while the NYSE FANG+ Index of megacap tech shares rose 2.2%. Inc. surged before its Prime Day event, Apple Inc. jumped as its price target was raised by RBC Capital Markets while Twitter Inc. rallied after Deutsche Bank recommended buying the stock. As lenders including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. report their results this week, analysts expect a slight uptick in net charge-offs with some loans souring. Energy shares underperformed as oil sank below $40 a barrel. The Treasury market is closed for a U.S. holiday.

Prospects for another round of fiscal spending remain highly unsettled after President Donald Trump pulled out of talks on Oct. 6, hours after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urged lawmakers err on the side of doing more rather than less to help the economy heal from Covid-19. The White House subsequently proposed a new $1.8 trillion stimulus package, with Trump himself saying he wanted to go even further, and negotiations with Democrats are expected to continue this week.

chart: S&P 500 climbs to highest level since early September

© Bloomberg
S&P 500 climbs to highest level since early September

“The stimulus stalemate still looms large, though it failed to derail the market,” said Chris Larkin, managing director of trading and investment product at E*Trade Financial. “And with high expectations for big-bank earnings kicking off the season, we could get a clearer picture into just how far we’ve come in terms of economic recovery.”

U.S. voters are getting their first close look at Judge Amy Coney Barrett in hearings that began Monday and are all but certain