MARKET WATCH: Oil prices fall after no production freeze agreement reached

Crude oil prices on the New York and London markets fell on Apr. 15 leading into the Apr. 17 meeting in Qatar about a production freeze proposal, which resulted in no agreement despite much anticipation leading up to the meeting.

Prices continued falling in early Apr. 18 trading on the New York market.

Russia was among the countries represented at the meeting attended by some members and nonmembers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Iran did not participate in the meeting where 18 producing countries were represented.

The proposal was first announced in February, and the likelihood that major producers might reach an agreement had boosted oil prices in general for weeks until the last few days leading up to the meeting.

Citigroup Inc. analysts on Apr. 15 discussed the consequences of no agreement.

“If there is no agreement, then expect a sharp oil-market selloff,” on Apr. 18. “If there is an agreement in name, but market participants realize it has no teeth, (expect) a slower selloff,” Citigroup analysts said.

Helima Croft of RBC Capital Markets said, “The initial post-Doha reaction will likely see an initial leg lower, but a sentiment-driven pullback should find support” at about $35/bbl. She noted that US oil production has been fallen since the oil slump began in 2014.

In other market news, an oil worker strike in Kuwait appeared to support oil prices. The Wall Street Journal reported Kuwait’s oil production fell to 1.1 million b/d, down from nearly 3 million b/d.

Energy prices

The May crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped $1.14 on Apr. 15 to $40.36/bbl. The June contract was down 96¢ to $41.71/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas contract for May fell 6.8¢ to $1.90/MMbtu. The Henry Hub price was $1.72/MMbtu, down 19¢.

Heating oil for May delivery declined 2.2¢ to a rounded $1.23/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for May was down 4.4¢ to a rounded $1.46/gal.

The Brent crude contract for June on London’s ICE fell 74¢ to $43.10/bbl. The July contract declined 74¢ to $43.06/bbl.

The average price for the OPEC’s basket of 13 benchmark crudes on Apr. 15 was $38.05/bbl, losing 53¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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