Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Crude prices were higher shortly after the opening of the regular trading session Tuesday, in sympathy with gains in U.S. equity markets but also due to a force majeure in Libya curbing oil production.
West Texas Intermediate front-month crude futures rose 2.3 percent to $52.17 per barrel as of 9:32 a.m. EST, while Brent front-month futures gained 1.5 percent to $60.88 per barrel as of the same time.
"Crude continues to get swept along with broader market sentiment, rallying thus far as equity markets push higher," Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData, told UPI.
The Dow Jones industrial average was at 24,703.05 points, up 1.2 percent, as of 9:57 a.m. EST.
"The force majeure at Libya's largest oilfield is also helping provide some tailwinds for today's rally," he added.
Libya's National Oil Corporation announced Sunday a force majeure as militias took control of a field.
A report in The Libya Observer said that along with the decision to declare the state of force majeure in the Sharara oil field, the company evacuated workers and closed the field. NOC has said it will not negotiate with the forces that took over the fields, reportedly causing an estimated output loss of just under a third of the country's total output.
Libya produced in September about 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day.
Oil prices, however, would likely remain volatile, independent analyst Lakshan De Silva told UPI.
"In the short term volatility is likely to loom as we saw last month when WTI second-month volatility hit a 2016 high," De Silva said.
While OPEC plus agreed last week to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels per day, with OPEC cutting 0.8 million barrels per day and non-OPEC countries the rest, there are concerns lingering including "how quickly Russia could enforce its commitment to cut production," he added.
Russia is expected to account for most of the reduction agreed by the non-OPEC countries.