Oil prices moved above $74 a barrel Monday, extending gains from last week as markets prepared for what is forecast to be the worst hurricane season in five years.
The hurricane season officially starts Tuesday. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 14 to 23 tropical storms this year, including up to seven major hurricanes.
"If this scenario were to materialize, it would be the most active season since Hurricane Katrina ravaged oil installations in the Gulf Coast in 2005," JBC Energy in Vienna said in a report.
Oil prices have swung in recent months between $87 a barrel and $64. U.S. economic data has pointed to improving demand but uncertainty over the debt crisis in Europe, which could check a global economic recovery, has kept investors jittery.
In London, the Brent crude July contact was up 61 cents to $74.63 on the ICE futures exchange.