MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent oil prices fluctuate before producers meet Sunday

Light, sweet crude oil prices for May delivery declined modestly to settle under $42/bbl on the New York market Apr. 13 while Brent crude oil prices on the London market for June also dropped modestly but still closed above $44/bbl.

Representatives of major producers, including both the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC countries, plan to attend an Apr. 17 meeting in Qatar to discuss a production-freeze proposal from February.

Some major producers suggest jointly freezing production levels at January levels. Iran already has said it will not participate. The question is whether other producers will commit to a production freeze without Iran.

In its closely watched Monthly Oil Market Report, OPEC said non-OPEC world oil production is falling faster than the cartel had expected. OPEC forecast non-OPEC 2016 production will fall by 730,000 b/d, which is a 30,000-b/d faster decline rate than OPEC’s March forecast for 2016.

OPEC lowered its non-OPEC production forecast based on diminishing expectations for output from China’s onshore mature fields and additional price-related US and UK production declines.

The latest OPEC forecast called for 2016 non-OPEC oil supply to average 56.39 million b/d. That compared with OPEC’s revised supply growth estimate that 2015 non-OPEC oil supply averaged 57.13 million b/d.

OPEC estimated the cartel’s crude oil production rose 15,000 b/d in March to 32.25 million b/d, largely driven by Iran whose estimated output rose 139,400 b/d to 3.291 million b/d.

Energy prices

The May crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange declined 41¢ to $41.76/bbl on Apr. 13, and the June contract was down 49¢ to $43.01/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for May rose 3.2¢ to a rounded $2.04/MMbtu. The Henry Hub price gained 4¢ to $1.98 on Apr. 13.    

Heating oil for May delivery declined 1¢ to a rounded $1.26/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for May was down a fraction of a penny to remain at a rounded $1.53/gal.

The Brent crude contract for June on London’s ICE dropped 51¢ to $44.18/bbl. The July contract declined 52¢ to $44.21/bbl. The gas oil contract was $377/tonne, up $1 for the May contract.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 13 benchmark crudes on Apr. 13 was $38.91/bbl, up 29¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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