The Woodside share price gained 12% in March. Here’s why

Woodside shares have been a strong beneficiary from the spike in oil prices…

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Key points

  • Woodside shares are climbing today despite the United States government's decision to release additional oil to the market
  • The conflict in Ukraine has led oil prices to surge to multi-year highs
  • Brent crude oil is currently swapping hands for US$104.51 per barrel

The Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) share price touched a fresh 52-week high of $34.60 in early March.

Although some gains have been given back since, the energy giant’s shares are currently trading at $32.57, up 1.48% on the day.

It’s worth noting that Woodside shares surged 12.47% last month, buoyed by positive investor sentiment in the sector.

Let’s take a look at why the company’s shares have been a winner lately.

What’s been elevating Woodside?

The price of oil has soared in recent times following the militarily conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The United States and its allies slapped harsh sanctions on Russia over the invasion, targeting its oil and gas sector. Cutting off an important player and member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) sent shockwaves through energy markets.

Currently, Brent crude, considered as the benchmark for oil prices, is fetching US$104.51 per barrel. This reflects an increase of about 13.2% since the invasion began on 24 February.

With the price of oil skyrocketing, this undoubtedly leads to bumper revenues for Woodside and other ASX energy shares alike.

In contrast, the S&P/ASX 200 Energy Index (ASX: XEJ) climbed almost 10% during March.

However, this may be short-lived following US President Joe Biden’s decision overnight to release much-needed oil to global markets.

As such, one million barrels of oil are set to be released each day from the United States strategic petroleum reserve. This will run over a course of six months which would equate to 180 million barrels of oil.

Even though this is the largest release ever in the history of the United States, it may not be significant enough. This is because the 180 million barrels of oil represents just two days of global demand for the crucial commodity.

Pleasingly for Australian oil and gas producers, this could lead to export opportunities to fill the energy gap. Particularly at current prices, Woodside could stand to benefit from this turmoil.

Woodside share price summary

The Woodside share price has gained 35% over the last 12 months, and is up almost 50% in 2022.

Based on today’s price, Woodside commands a market capitalisation of roughly $32.04 billion, with approximately 983.98 million shares on issue.

Motley Fool contributor Aaron Teboneras has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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