Energy prices have increased due to freezing weather in regions across the U.S., putting West Texas Intermediate crude on track to settle above $60 a barrel for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
WTI crude futures rose 62 cents to $60.09 a barrel on Monday while Brent crude, which is the international benchmark, climbed 1.4% to $63.33.
The latest surge came as cold weather hit portions of the U.S., fostering demand for power and fuel while threatening to hamper production in Texas.
"Winter storm and arctic blast of cold weather that is making its way south to Houston may have some severe impacts on the oil industry," said oil analyst Andy Lipow. "Frigid weather means that many oil wells may be shut in. Water is produced along with oil, that water can freeze up equipment. The cold air affects oil production in Canada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and elsewhere."
According to the National Weather Service, more than 150 million Americans are currently under some category of winter weather advisory, and as of early Monday, it was predicting a "major winter storm" to bring heavy snow and significant ice.
Lipow said that the odds refineries will slow operations and prepare for outages are good. He also partially blamed the storm for the steady rise in gasoline prices over the last week.