By Laura Sanicola
(Reuters) -Oil jumped to a three-year peak on Monday after OPEC+ confirmed it would stick to its current output policy as demand for petroleum products rebounds, despite pressure from some countries for a bigger boost to production.
The producer club’s decision to keep increasing oil output gradually sent prices sharply higher, adding to inflationary pressures that consuming nations fear will derail an economic recovery from the pandemic.
OPEC+ agreed in July to boost output by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) each month until at least April 2022 to phase out 5.8 million bpd of existing production cuts.
Brent crude settled up $1.98, or 2.5%, to $81.26 a barrel. It rose 1.5% last week for a fourth consecutive weekly gain, and was back up to highs last seen in 2018.
U.S. oil <CLc1> settled up $1.74, or 2.3%, to $77.62 a barrel after gaining for the past six weeks, and was at its highest since 2014.
“Given the demand picture and the outcome of the OPEC meeting, the overall sentiment around crude is bullish,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
Demand for coal and natural gas has exceeded pre-COVID-19 highs with oil closely trailing, according to energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency. Three-quarters of global energy demand is still met by fossil fuels, with less than a fifth by non-nuclear renewables.
OPEC+, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, has faced pressure from some countries to add back more barrels to the market as demand has recovered faster than expected in some parts of the world.
Four OPEC+ sources told Reuters recently that producers were considering boosting output by more than had already been agreed.
The oil price rally has also been fuelled by an even bigger increase in gas prices https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/whats-behind-wild-surges-global-lng-prices-risks-ahead-2021-10-01, which have spiked by 300%, prompting switching to fuel oil and other crude products to generate electricity and for other industrial needs.
(Additional reporting by Noah Browning and Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, David Goodman, Jan Harvey and Sonya Hepinstall)