Oil surged past $81 a barrel after the International Energy Agency said shortages of natural gas in Europe and Asia are boosting demand for crude. WTI crude futures were up 1.1% and trading near their highest level since 2014. Record gas prices are boosting consumption of other fuels and could add about 500,000 barrels a day of oil use over the next six months, the IEA said. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister meanwhile reiterated the need for producers to take a gradual, phased approach to supply hikes. He said the oil market will be balanced by the end of the year, but reiterated that OPEC and its allies will face a challenging 2022. Crude’s rally in recent months has been underscored by wider gains in energy prices. Some analysts, including at Bank of America Corp., see the potential for prices to reach $100 a barrel, though RBC Capital Markets cautioned that […]