Crude oil prices are climbing higher Monday morning, bouncing back strongly after Friday's terrible setback, as traders look ahead to some meetings of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, scheduled to take place this week.
The detection of a new variant - Omicron - in South Africa last week, and subsequent news about several countries, including the U.S., imposing fresh travel restrictions weighed on oil prices on Friday.
The World Health Organization, which held an emergency meeting on Friday, declared the new virus variant a matter of concern, noting its transmissibility.
The new variant has been red-flagged by scientists over an alarmingly high number of spike mutations that might make the virus more resistant to vaccines.
While the WHO has said it could take weeks to understand the variant's severity, a South African doctor who has treated cases said symptoms so far seemed to be mild.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January climbed to $72.16 a barrel, and are currently hovering around $71.55, up 5% from the previous close.
Brent crude futures are up $3.36 or 4.7% at $74.95 a barrel.
The OPEC, aiming to gain time to asses the impact of Omicron, has postponed technical meetings this week. Russia seems to believe there is no need for urgent action on the market.
Traders are also likely to closely follow the developments on talks on Iran nuclear accord, which resume today.