MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent crude oil prices continue falling

Light, sweet crude prices fell for a sixth consecutive trading session on the New York market Dec. 11 and that momentum continued in early Dec. 14 trading with oil prices briefly dipping below $35/bbl. Meanwhile, Brent crude oil prices on the London market settled Dec. 14 above $36/bbl.

A survey of more than 200 investors by Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. indicated most investors expect oil futures prices will average $55/bbl during 2016.

Ole Hansen, Saxo Bank head of commodity strategy, expects that oil prices will remain under pressure as Brent and light, sweet crude approach December 2008 financial crisis lows.

“The carnage in oil markets is showing no signs of slowing,” Hansen said. “Negative fundamentals and negative momentum make it easy prey for short-sellers firmly in control. Increased oil exports from Iran and US (when for the first and if for the latter) are two of the drivers which today have sent both Brent and WTI closer to their December 2008 financial crisis lows.”

Iran will increase production once sanctions are lifted next year and in the US oil groups and politicians are lobbying hard for the 40-year old export ban to be lifted.

“Bloated US inventories, which are currently more than 110 million bbl above the 5-year average, have nowhere to go due to the ban that was put in place during the 1970s,” Hansen said. “If lifted, the US oil market would begin reconnecting with the global market, and the price discount to Brent crude, the current global benchmark, would disappear.”

Energy prices

The January crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped $1.14 to settle Dec. 11 at $35.62/bbl. The February contract was down $1.18 to settle at $37.25/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for January fell 2.5¢ to a rounded $1.99/MMbtu. The Henry Hub gas price was $1.77/MMbtu on Dec. 11, down 14¢.

Heating oil for January delivery dropped by nearly 8¢ to a rounded $1.15/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for January was up less than a penny to remain at a rounded $1.28/gal.

The January ICE contract for Brent crude dropped $1.80 to $37.93/bbl, and the February contract was down $1.81 to $38.32/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for January was $343.25/tonne on Dec. 11, down $21.75.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes for Dec. 11 was $33.76/bbl, down 93¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

*Paula Dittrick is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

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