Oil increases past $34 barrel mark

With rig counts at a record low, oil prices rose 92 cents a barrel in trading Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange following the long Memorial Day weekend.

July futures contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude settled the day at $34.17 a barrel for an increase of nearly 3%.

Brent crude futures gained 64 cents or 1.8% and finished the day at $36.17 a barrel. Analysts say it’s a sign investors are buoyed by growing confidence that producers are truly committed to cutting supplies while fuel demand grows with the easing coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was scheduled to meet Tuesday with oil major producers to discuss possibly extending current level of OPEC cuts beyond June. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries had agreed in April to cut their combined output by nearly 10 million barrels a day from May to June to shore up prices and demand.

On Monday, Russia’s energy ministry quoted Novak as saying that a rise in fuel demand should help to cut a global surplus of about 7 million to 12 million bpd by June or July.

OPEC+ countries are due to meet again in early June to discuss maintaining their supply cuts to shore up prices, which are still down about 45% since the start of the year.

Natural gas prices added 6 cents in Tuesday’s trading and finished the day at $1.79 for a 3.58% increase.

SandRidge Energy shares rose 12 cents and settled at $1.59 while Devon Energy was up 17 cents to end the day at $12.31 a share.

Chesapeake Energy finished up 15 cents at $13.86 for a 1% gain. ConocoPhillips saw a 39 cent increase as shares ended Tuesday at $43.67.

Marathon Oil was up 14 cents at $6.03 for a 2.3% gain while EOG Resources fell 84 cents and dropped 1.6% finishing the day at $51.44.

Phillips 66 saw a 3.28% increase amounting to another $2.50 a share as stocks ended at $78.97. American Electric Power was up $1.13 as its shares rose 1.4%, finishing the day at $79.92.

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