NEW YORK, May 24 (UPI) -- Supply-side constraints put renewed momentum behind a rally in crude oil prices for Tuesday even as some production returns to ease lingering concerns.
Though wildfires continue to burn out of control in parts of Canada, fires are moving east toward Saskatchewan and the provincial government of oil-rich Alberta said it was now permissible for workers to return to oil sands installations. Suncor, one of Canada's largest producers, said it already started returning its operations to normal.
Crude prices were pulled higher by the wildfires in Canada, which impacted about 1 million barrels per day in production. A survey emailed from S&P Global Platts reports U.S. crude oil stockpiles will likely move lower as a U.S. decline in Canadian crude oil weighs on inventories at a time of a spike in seasonal demand for consumer fuel products.
Gasoline stocks are expected by Platts to show a 1.6 million barrel draw.
Though Canada is expected to return to normal with full citizen returns planned to start next week, crude oil prices moved higher in anticipation of more formal indications of crude oil inventories, which should give an indication of the short-term balance between supply and demand.
The price for Brent crude oil moved into the black after trading in negative territory in overnight trading, opening up 0.2 percent to start the day at $48.44 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price for crude oil, moved higher by 0.4 percent to open at $48.28 per barrel.
Brent may be influenced by labor strikes in France, which has impacted all eight of the country's refineries.
Anticipation may be brewing as well ahead of a meeting next week of ministers for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Some OPEC members this year had considered a production freeze to control the market, though those efforts collapsed after Iran said it would join that effort only after it regained a market position lost to economic sanctions.
Crude oil prices are up more than 70 percent from lows below $30 per barrel early this year as supply-side pressures subside. Speaking from Oslo, Norwegian Energy Minister Tord Lien told Bloomberg News it was unlikely that prices will return to the $100 mark common just two years ago.
"It's better to plan for $60 and let the people who want to hope for $100, hope for $100," he said.