Oil prices rallied on February 2 as investors speculated that the falling cost of crude may have ended.
Brent crude was up 1.3% at $53.65 a barrel, having reached $55, while US oil rose 1.7% to $48.52.
It followed the release of data showing that US demand for leasing oil rigs was slowing, suggesting that producers might be preparing to cut output.
On January 30, data showed that more than 90 US oil rigs were idled, the largest number to be wound down in a single day since the mid-1980s.
Today’s price rise extended the gains made last week, and boosted oil and gas share prices. Tullow Oil rose almost 7%, while BG Group climbed 5%.
Since last summer, the prices of Brent and UK West Texas Intermediate Crude have fallen from above $100 a barrel.
Meanwhile, Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, saw profit in the fourth quarter fall to $6.57 billion, from $8.35 billion for the same three months the year before.
Oil and natural gas production fell 3.8%, Exxon said.
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