Crude oil prices are notably lower Tuesday morning, weighed down by concerns about the outlook for energy demand amid reports the existing Coronavirus vaccines may not be much effective against the newly detected Omicron variant.
The presence of the new variant in several countries and fears of stricter restrictions on movements have raised concerns about energy demand.
Crude oil prices had rebounded a bit on Monday after suffering a setback last Friday.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January are down $1.90 or 2.72% at $68.05 a barrel, recovering from a low of $67.06. Oil prices had tumbled more than 12.5% on Friday.
Brent crude futures are lower by $2.14 or 2.92% at $71.08 a barrel.
Moderna's CEO Stephane Bancel has expressed apprehensions about the effectiveness of vaccines against the newly identified Omicron variant.
Bancel said in an interview to the Financial Times that it will take a couple of weeks to determine how much the mutations have affected the efficacy of the vaccines currently available in the market.
"Depending on how much it dropped, we might decide on the one hand to give a higher dose of the current vaccine around the world to protect people. Maybe people at very high risk, the immunocompromised, and the elderly should need a fourth dose," he said.