Prices of the barrel of the American benchmark for the sweet light crude oil are returning to the negative ground for the first time after five consecutive daily advances, including fresh yearly peaks in the $56.30/35 band (February 18).
Some analysts said the continued rise in US oil production could act as a drag on the current rally. Also, there is growing signs of a tightening market, driven by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC's) production cuts and us sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
For both benchmarks, these were their highest levels since November 20, 2018.
WTI Crude traded up 0.80 per cent at $56.43, while Brent Crude eased off earlier gains to trade down 0.02 per cent at $66.24.
The supply curbs led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have helped crude oil prices to rise more than 20 percent this year.
Venezuela is a major crude supplier to U.S. refineries.
Venezuela's Guaido calls for nationwide protests to allow USA aid to enter
But Maduro, who asserts that aid could be used as a cover for a USA invasion, called for reinforced border security. Guaido has announced that humanitarian aid will enter Venezuela on Saturday, the day after Branson's concert.
The WTI Crude Oil market rallied slightly during the trading session on Monday, as we continue to see strength in crude oil overall.
"IndianOil has finalised a term contract for import of up to 3.0 MMT (million metric tonnes) of crude oil of United States origin grades as a part of its strategy to diversify term crude sources".
This is a rise of 0.8 percent from their last settlement. This bullish signal combined with renewed optimism coming from both the USA and China that they had made some progress in last week's trade talks. This continued the 2018 trend, in which China recorded the first annual drop in vehicle sales on record.
Looming over oil markets in the near term, meanwhile, is the rise in USA crude oil production of more than 2 million bpd in 2018, to a record 11.9 million bpd - with signs that US output will rise further.
That means the USA rig count is higher than a year ago when fewer than 800 rigs were active.