December West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark US crude, closed at $91.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex). Prices broke through the $92 barrier in intraday trading. In London, Brent crude closed at $88.69/bbl.
Fears of a supply constriction ahead of the Northern Hemisphere winter have fueled the rise, drawing a fresh wave of speculative money from investors who are also being drawn in by the weak dollar and Nigerian output disruptions. A rebel attack on an oil rig in OPEC-member Nigeria operated by Italian firm ENI shut 50,000 barrels per day of production.
“The push higher may appear overdone from time to time but there is no denying that reasons for buying are well defined,” said Mike Fitzpatrick of MF Global’s Energy Risk Management Group, noting that tensions in Northern Iraq, tight supplies and forecasts of a cold weather snap in the United States were driving the situation.
"Even the weather is finally going to turn a bit bullish," he said.