MARKET WATCH: Oil prices stay positive; ‘freeze’ meeting questioned

Light, sweet crude oil prices for April delivery on the New York market continued climbing Mar. 7, gaining $1.98 to settle at $37.90/bbl, but various Middle East high-ranking oil representatives have started questioning news reports regarding the scheduling of a production freeze meeting.

UAE Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazrouei expects crude oil markets worldwide will see a correction before Dec. 31 because current prices are pushing producers to freeze their production.

“It’s happening as we speak,” he told reporters when questioned about oil prices while he attended an aerospace conference in Abu Dhabi on Mar. 7. “It doesn’t make any sense for anyone to increase the production with the current prices.”

The oil price rally comes after Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar, and Venezuela agreed in February to freeze their production at January levels provided that other producers agree to join the production freeze.

But Al-Mazrouei said on Mar. 7 that his country has not received an official invitation to attend an oil producers meeting reportedly scheduled in Russia on Mar. 20.

A Nigerian official previously told reporters that representatives of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are scheduled to meet in Moscow with non-OPEC producers (OGJ Online Mar. 7, 2016).

Two Persian Gulf Arab OPEC delegates told The Wall Street Journal that no decision has been made yet on either the date or the location of the meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

Energy prices

The May crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained $2.07 to $39.82/bbl on Mar. 7.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for April was up 2¢ to a rounded $1.69/MMbtu. The Henry Hub gas price for Mar. 7 was $1.52/MMbtu, up 3¢.

Heating oil for April delivery rose 6¢ to a rounded $1.22/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for April gained 6¢ to a rounded $1.39/gal on Mar. 7.

The Brent crude contract for May on London’s ICE climbed $2.12 to $40.84/bbl. The June ICE contract gained $2.12 to settle at $41.48/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for March was $355/tonne, up $18.25.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes was $34.34/bbl, up $2.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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