Oil prices extended gains on Monday as traders eyed a recovery in crude demand thanks to successful coronavirus vaccine trials, although prices were contained by renewed lockdowns in several countries.
Sentiment was also bolstered by hopes that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers, a group known as OPEC+, will keep crude output in check.
Brent crude futures rose 21 cents, or 0.5%, to $45.17 a barrel by 0436 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 10 cents, or 0.2%, to $42.52 a barrel. Both benchmarks jumped 5% last week.
"Positive sentiment continues to be driven by the recent good news about the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines in development and the expectation that the OPEC+ meeting at the end of this month could see the group extend current cuts by 3-6 months," said Stephen Innes, Chief Global Markets Strategist at axi.
U.S. healthcare workers and others recommended that the nation's first COVID-19 inoculations could start getting shots within a day or two of regulatory consent next month, a top official of the government's vaccine development effort said on Sunday.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser for "Operation Warp Speed", said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would likely grant approval in mid-December for distribution of the vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech [22UAy.DE], launching the largest inoculation campaign in U.S. history.
OPEC+, which meets on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, is looking at options to delay by at least three months from January the tapering of their 7.7 million barrel per day (bpd) cuts by around 2 million bpd.
But smaller Russian oil companies are still planning to pump more crude this year despite a global deal to cut production as they have little leeway in managing the output of start-up fields, a group representing the producers said on Friday.