Crude oil prices remained mixed on Wednesday amid demand concerns due to the Omicron variant of coronavirus. As of 1300 hours GMT, Brent, the international benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s oil, shed $0.18 (-0.24 percent) to reach $73.80 a barrel. Similarly, the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price reached $71.14 a barrel, up by $0.02 (+0.03 percent). The price for Opec Basket was recorded at $74.23 a barrel without any change, Arab Light was available at $75.57 with a 2.22 percent increase, and the price of Russian Sokol jumped to $75.85 with an increase of 2.28 percent. The Omicron variant of coronavirus threatens to dent oil consumption globally. Governments around the world are tightening restrictions to stop the spread of the Omicron variant. Covid woes escalate in the West and challenge the holiday mood, as well as travel plans and hopes of energy demand linked to that. Global oil and gas discoveries in 2021 are on track to hit the lowest full-year level in 75 years if the remainder of this month does not yield significant hydrocarbons finds. Total global discovered volumes of oil and gas this year is estimated at 4.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent and with no major finds announced so far in December, the industry is set to hit the lowest discoveries mark since 1946, the US-based independent energy research and data analytics company said. The 2021 hydrocarbon discoveries are also less than half of the 12.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent discovered in 2020. Global oil demand is expected to plateau by the mid-2030s, but crude is expected to remain the biggest component of the international energy mix until 2045, as the world’s population increases and the global economy more than doubles in size to $270 trillion, Opec said in one of its reports. Demand is forecast to rise by 17.6 million barrels per day in two and a half decades, growing to 108.2 million barrels per day in 2045 from 90.6 million barrels per day in 2020, Opec estimates show.