A price of around $100 for WTI "is the new equilibrium," said Chris Mennis, president of brokerage New Wave Energy LLC. "I think the relative stability of crude oil between $90 to $110 for about a year, is a sign of the 'Goldilocks' world economy, not too cold, not too hot."
Carl Larry, President of Houston-based consultancy Oil Outlooks and Opinions, said U.S. crude futures are finding "fair value" at around $102 to $104. "With WTI at a good discount to Brent, the refining margins and cost of products make exports from the U.S. the hot spot."
Brent crude posted its biggest daily fall in almost a month on Monday after Libya ended a suspension on crude exports from the 70,000 barrel-a-day eastern port of Zueitina after rebels agreed to hand over control of the facility to the government earlier this month.
Still, some market professionals treated the news with caution, saying they wanted to see evidence of tanker loadings to confirm the port was operational.
Furthermore, the deepening Russia-Ukraine crisis and fears that Moscow may respond to Western sanctions by halting gas exports to Europe will continue to prop up the price of Brent. Headlines from Iraq, which goes to the polls on April 30, offer further risk for upside price volatility.
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"The Libyan deal to re-open ports continues to drag on, the Russia/Ukraine crisis adds to geopolitical concerns, and there's likely to be heightened insecurity in Iraq around the elections—though probably no direct impact on oil production except on the northern pipeline, which is shut down anyway," said Robin Mills, Head of Consulting at Manaar Energy Consulting & Project Management in Dubai.