MARKET WATCH: Brent crude oil for March drops slightly

The March ICE contract for Brent crude delivery fell 13¢ to close at $106.35/bbl in Jan. 20 trading on the London market while the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York was closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The Organizational of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported its basket of 12 benchmark crudes was $104.24/bbl on Jan. 20, which was up 19¢ from the previous trading session.

On Jan. 7, the US Energy Information Administration issued a monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook saying North Sea Brent crude oil spot price in December averaged near $110/bbl for the sixth consecutive month. The report was the first time EIA outlined its 2015 forecasts.

EIA expects Brent crude prices will decline gradually to average $105/bbl in 2014 and $102/bbl in 2015, while it forecast US benchmark light, sweet crude oil prices will average $93/bbl during 2014 and $90/bbl during 2015.

The agency estimated US total crude oil production averaged 7.5 million b/d in 2013, an increase of 1 million b/d from 2012.

“Projected domestic crude oil production continues to increase to 8.5 million b/d in 2014 and 9.3 million b/d in 2015. The 2015 forecast would mark the highest annual average level of production since 1972,” EIA said.

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