By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu
ANKARA (AA) - Oil prices increased marginally on Monday over positive demand projections in the world's largest oil importer, China.
International benchmark Brent crude traded at $80.15 per barrel at 09.41 a.m. local time (0641 GMT), up 0.3% from the closing price of $79.94 a barrel in the previous trading session.
At the same time, American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $73.48 per barrel, a 0.1% rise after the previous session closed at $73.39 a barrel.
According to international media outlets, the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, stated in an interview on Sunday that China is expected to account for roughly half of the growth in global oil demand this year.
He suggested that if China's demand continues to rise, major oil exporters may reconsider their production policies.
"If demand goes up very strongly, if the Chinese economy rebounds, then there will be a need, in my view, for the OPEC+ countries to look at their (output) policies," Birol was quoted as saying.
Prices came under pressure as a result of demand concerns and market uncertainty, which were exacerbated by the EU ban on Russian seaborne oil products, which took effect on Feb. 5, along with a global price cap to put additional pressure on Moscow's revenue stream.
A price cap of $100 per barrel on premium Russian oil products such as diesel and a $45 per barrel on discounted products like fuel oil also came into effect on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman expressed concern on Sunday about potential energy supply cuts as a result of the sanctions.
Speaking at a conference organized by the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE) Conference in Riyadh, he warned that "sanctions, embargoes and the notable drop in investment in the energy sector" could lead to shortages in global energy supply.