MARKET WATCH: New York, London oil prices fall Mar. 15 but rally Mar. 16

Crude oil prices declined moderately on the New York and London markets on Mar. 15 on lingering world oil oversupply concerns, but early Mar. 16 trading showed prices climbing after Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar indicated they might limit oil production even if Iran does not do the same.

Qatar oil ministry officials said an Apr. 17 meeting was scheduled in Doha for oil producers representing the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and also non-OPEC producers.

On Feb. 16, representatives of Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar, and Venezuela announced that they were willing to freeze their oil production levels at January levels provided other producers did the same.

In a news release Mar. 16, the Qatari oil ministry said the February production freeze initiative has contributed to generally higher oil prices in recent weeks.

The proposed pact “put a floor under the oil price,” said the Qatari news release. “This has triggered a broad and intensive dialogue between all oil producers out of the conviction that current oil prices aren’t sustainable.”

The Wall Street Journal also quoted a Kuwaiti oil official as saying of Iran, “It would be good if they joined, but if not, it’s not a big deal.”

The Qatari oil ministry said 15 OPEC and non-OPEC producers supported a production freeze although the news release did not elaborate on which producing countries were expected to attend the April meeting.

Energy prices

The April crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange declined 84¢ to $36.34/bbl on Mar. 15. The May contract was down 76¢ to $38.08/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for April rose 3¢ to a rounded $1.85/MMbtu. The Henry Hub gas price for Mar. 15 was $1.78/MMbtu, gaining 10¢.

Heating oil for April delivery fell by nearly 2¢ to a rounded $1.18/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for April declined 1.4¢ to a rounded $1.41/gal on Mar. 15.

The Brent crude contract for May on London’s ICE fell 79¢ to $38.74/bbl. The June contract was down 77¢ to $39.39/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for April was $350/tonne, up $5.75.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes was $33.69/bbl, dropping $1.05.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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