Crude Oil Rises

Crude oil rose above $40 a barrel on speculation a U.S. stimulus plan will revive demand in the world’s largest energy consumer., Bloomberg 2/9/2009 5:20:51 AM

Oil rose before a vote by Senate and Congress on President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package of at least $780 billion. Lawmakers are more than 90 percent agreed on its contents, Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, said yesterday. Crude also gained as the dollar dropped against the euro, increasing the appeal of commodities as an inflation hedge.

Oil for March delivery rose as much as 50 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $40.67 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract traded at $40.41 at 11:48 a.m. London time.

Futures traded between $38.60 and $42.68 last week and fell 2.4 percent to $40.17 a barrel on Feb. 6 after a report showed unemployment in the U.S. reached its highest since at least 1992.

Brent crude oil for March settlement rose as much as 47 cents, or 1 percent, to $46.68 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was at $46.49 a barrel at 11:48 a.m. in London.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members have delayed 35 oil and gas production projects after prices plunged from last year’s record, Secretary-General Abdalla el-Badri told reporters in London today.

The group has complied with about 80 percent of the 4.2 production cuts it announced and has 900,000 barrels left to go, he said. That’s left the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries with about 8 million barrels of shut in capacity.

Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest state oil company, will reduce crude supplies to Japan in March for a fourth month, refinery officials said.

The Dhahran, Saudi Arabia-based producer will cut shipments to Japanese refiners including Nippon Oil Corp., Idemitsu Kosan Co. and Cosmo Oil Co. by between 11 percent and 14 percent from levels agreed under annual contracts, said officials at two refiners who received notices from the company.