Oil prices climbed Friday following the passing of the U.S. stimulus package
Following the passage of the U.S. stimulus package, oil prices rose Friday, breaking a five-day streak of decreasing prices.
The prospect of new jobs and new lending boosted the market and gave a little hope that oil demand could begin to increase again, OilVoice reports.
Oil prices fell during the early part of the week after both the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency released reports projecting significant decreases in demand over the next year.
Prices were pushed even further down after the U.S. Energy Information Administration released its seventh weekly report in a row reporting a rise in crude oil stocks in the United States -- a result of weak demand.
Some analysts have suggested this could be the bottom of oil prices, but others are not so optimistic.
"The economic indicators in the developed world remain weak, and that's impinging on oil demand," said David Moore, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. "It's premature to say the fall in demand has bottomed."
Tehran and Baghdad want fixed oil prices
Leaders from Iran and Iraq are calling for fixed prices on the oil supplied to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries by members and the oil sold by OPEC to purchasers.
Both Iran and Iraq have seen revenue dip compared with recent years on the low oil prices over the last six months. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani agreed something must be done to boost oil prices, the Fars News Agency reports.
Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil exporter and receives the majority of its foreign revenue from oil exports.
While together for their meeting, Mottaki and Shahristani also discussed Iran and Iraq's four shared oil fields and the Abadan-Basra pipeline. Additional meetings are planned.
Shell suspends Nigerian production
Following the news that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta ended its cease-fire agreement, violence has again flared in Nigeria and oil and gas companies are being targeted.
Companies such as Royal Dutch Shell operating in the region have suspended deployment of expatriate workers to the area, and Shell also declared force majeure on its oil shipments, This Day reports.
Shell spokesman Precious Okolobo said the company has not been able to meet its contractual obligations with such heavy military presence in the area.
The company's previous force majeure of liquefied natural gas shipments from the region is also still in effect.
With workers being attacked, abducted or even killed, Shell decided the profit is not worth the risk.
In addition, paying for security has increased the cost of operating in Nigeria and made working in the region even less profitable.
To make the state safer for oil and gas operators, Gov. Rotimi Amaechi of Nigeria's Rivers State announced hostage-taking will soon be made a capital offense, punishable by death. Currently the law provides a sentence of two to 10 years imprisonment for kidnapping and false imprisonment.
Closing oil prices, Feb. 13, 3 p.m., London
Brent Crude oil: $45.53
West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $35.60