Oil pushed towards $ 60 a barrel early on Monday amid prospects for a cold December on the U.S. Northeast, spurring a rebound in demand for heating oil.

Oil pushed towards $ 60 a barrel early on Monday amid prospects for a cold December on the U.S. Northeast, spurring a rebound in demand for heating oil.

Crude extended last week’s rally to its highest in almost four weeks, despite signs that the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC) will decide next week to carry on
pumping oil at near its full capacity.

January crude was up 52 cents or 0.9 percent at $ 59.84
a barrel, its highest since Nov. 9, as it builds on gains of 5
percent over the final three days of last week.

‘There is definitely short-term demand from the weather
story,’ said Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Tobin Gorey.

‘But we were always confident prices could maintain high
levels because there is ongoing demand globally. OPEC looks to be sticking to current output on the basis of keeping the market
well-supplied and keeping up with demand.’

Temperatures in the U.S. Northeast, home to 80 percent of
U.S. heating oil consumption, were between normal and 7 degrees Fahrenheit below normal on Sunday, according to The Weather Channel’s website on Monday.

It marks the beginning of a cold snap that forecasters
predict could last until mid-December and drive up demand for
heating oil, stocks of which now stand 12 percent above last year after an unusually warm start to the winter.

Heating oil also extended last week’s gains, rising
1.75 cents or 1 percent to $ 1.7895 a gallon, while gasoline was up just 2 points at $ 1.6115 a gallon.

OPEC DELIBERATIONS

OPEC meets on Dec. 12 in Kuwait to chart oil policy for early next year, but most members have said they see little need to reduce supplies as the price of their basket of heavier crudes
hovers at around $ 50 a barrel.

Iran’s new nominee for oil minister, current caretaker Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh, said at the weekend he was satisfied with current world oil prices.

His comments echo those of OPEC chief Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah last week, who said the group might keep pumping at current high levels until March.

UAE Energy Minister Mohammed bin Dhaen al-Hamli said there was no need to raise supplies now due to falling prices and healthy crude stocks, but that OPEC may need to raise output again next year to keep pace with rising global demand for crude oil, Kuwaiti daily al-Qabas reported on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Venezuela said exports would not be affected by an explosion on a pipeline supplying the country’s largest refinery, which officials attributed to sabotage on the eve of
congressional elections in the world’s fifth-largest oil
supplying nation.

Source : today.reuters.com