1. Oil prices hits $60 a barrel for the first time since June 2015.
Oil prices jumped levels we haven’t seen in over 2½ years. The news of the pipeline explosion in Libya combined with increased US output has caused the boost. International benchmark Brent crude rose $1.81, or 2.8%, to $67.06. Additionally, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures jumped $1.50, or 2.6%, to $59.97.
2. Reports show China has stopped oil product exports to North Korea.
Recent Chinese customs reports with November data show China exported no oil products to North Korea. This is above and beyond the sanctions imposed by the UN. Last week, the U.N. Security Council imposed new caps on trade with North Korea, including limiting oil product shipments to just 500,000 barrels a year. Tensions have been high over North Korea's ongoing nuclear and missile programs, pursued in defiance of years of U.N. resolutions.
3. Oil discoveries hit 70 year low.
As we close out 2017, major oil discoveries have tumbled to their lowest levels in more than 70 years. Without the incentive of high oil prices, as drillers across the world have struggled to justify the cost of new projects that are lucrative enough to provide investor returns.
2017 will end at only 7 billion barrels of oil and gas discovered. Compare this to 2012’s 30 billion barrels identified, and we see it’s quite a stark difference. According to Norwegian research firm Rystad Energy, the falloff could translate into supply shortages and sharply rising prices in the future.
"We haven't seen anything like this since the 1940s," senior Rystad analyst Sonia Mladá Passos said in a report. "We have to face the fact that the low discovered volumes on a global level represent a serious threat to the supply levels some 10 years down the road."