MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices rise above Brent

Light, sweet crude prices for February dropped more than $1/bbl on Dec. 28 but managed to settle at $36.81/bbl, which was 19¢ higher than the Brent settlement price in London. US light, sweet crude rose in early Dec. 29 trading.

Analysts noted the first shipment of US crude to be exported in decades is expected to happen during January. The Wall Street Journal said Switzerland was the anticipated destination for crude oil from the South Texas Eagle Ford unconventional play. Vitol of Geneva was the buyer for the US cargo, WJS said.

Meanwhile, Brent remained near 11-year lows. Iran is expected to resume oil exports next year with the lifting of Western sanctions, which will mean yet more oil available on an already oversupplied world oil market.

“If the combination of the lifting of the export ban on Iranian and US crude oil translates into oil prices lower for longer, then the geopolitical risks in Gulf Cooperation Council countries will be higher for longer,” said Petromatrix analyst Olivier Jakob.

Energy prices

The February crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped $1.29 to settle Dec. 28 at $36.81/bbl. The March contract was down $1.29 to settle at $37.82/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for January rose nearly 20¢ to a rounded $2.23/MMbtu. The Henry Hub gas price was $2.08/MMbtu on Dec. 28, marking a gain of 54¢.

Heating oil for January delivery dropped 1¢ to a rounded $1.09/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for January was down 3¢ to a rounded $1.23/gal.

The February ICE contract for Brent crude declined $1.27 to $36.62/bbl, and the March contract was down $1.29 to $37.13. The ICE gas oil contract for January was $336/tonne on Dec. 28, down $3.75.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes for Dec. 28 was $31.71/bbl, down 46¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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