MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil futures end 2014 below $54/bbl

The slump in oil prices worldwide continued on the last trading day of 2014 with US light, sweet crude closing at less than $54/bbl on the New York market Dec. 31 while Brent closed at less than $58/bbl on the London market.

During 2014 Brent crude prices averaged $99.29/bbl and US light, sweet crude averaged $92.60/bbl, analyst Daniel Ang at Phillip Futures told MarketWatch, a subsidiary of Dow Jones.

China’s manufacturing statistics indicated continued sluggishness in an index released Dec. 31. HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Index for China for December was 49.6, down from 50 in November. China is the world’s second-largest oil consumer, and much of its demand comes from factories.

Analysts anticipate price swings for oil markets are likely to continue into 2015 because the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is standing firm on its November 2014 decision to maintain production quotas for OPEC members despite an overabundance in world oil supplies.

“OPEC has always been there to lower volatility both on the upside and downside, but now they have less and less weight,” Pierre Andurand, founder of Andurand Capital Management LLP in London told Bloomberg. “It means more volatility.”

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange crude oil contract for February delivery fell 85¢ on Dec. 31, closing at $53.27/bbl. The March contract dropped 83¢ to $53.70/bbl.

The natural gas contract for February settled down 20¢ to a rounded $2.89/MMbtu. The cash gas price at Henry Hub, La., dropped 12¢ to $3/MMbtu on Dec. 31.

Heating oil for January delivery was down 2.2¢ to a rounded $1.85/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for January declined by 1.84¢ to a rounded $1.43/gal.

The February ICE contract for Brent crude oil was down 57¢ to $57.33/bbl. The March contract was down 52¢ to $58.21/bbl.

The ICE gas oil contract for January dropped $13.50 to $512.25/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes on Dec. 31 was unavailable because the OPEC office was closed.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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

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