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Brent oil trading firm at $101 on Middle East supply concern

Brent oil futures open Monday’s trading session firm at $101 a barrel as investors remain cautious about the short term situation in the Middle East, which could affect crude oil supply around the world.

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In London, Brent crude oil futures for April 2011 delivery was trading at $101.60 a barrel, 07.45 GMT this morning on the ICE Futures Exchange. The March 2011 Brent contract expired on Friday.

“The European oil markets still appear reluctant to part with much risk premium related to the Middle East. While some definition has been provided now that President Mubarak has stepped down, the situation remains uncertain and is worthy of some security premium.” said Jim Ritterbusch at Ritterbusch & Associates.

Brent oil prices are currently trading near record highs in terms of the spread between Brent and the US counterpart, WTI oil. The wide spread between the two oil futures contracts is mainly due to rising US oil supplies at Cushing, together with recent uncertainty over oil supply from the Middle East.

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