MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude gains, but Brent crude drops

Light, sweet crude oil prices gained modestly Sept. 6 on the New York market while US natural gas future prices fell as trading resumed after markets were closed for the US Labor Day holiday Sept. 5. Brent crude oil prices fell modestly on the London market Sept. 6.

Analysts attributed the relatively flat oil prices to a weakening US dollar and growing skepticism that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reach any deal to freeze production levels during informal talks scheduled late this month on the sidelines of an energy conference in Algeria.

Iran, Nigeria, and Libya already said they are working to increase production. In April, talks about a production freeze among some OPEC members and some non-OPEC producers failed to result in any agreement.

On Sept. 5, representatives from Saudi Arabia and Russia said they agreed to form a working group to monitor the oil market.

“Whether or not this so-called pact will eventually turn out to be something where both of these major oil producers will do something to limit production is a major question,” Dominick Chirichella, Energy Management Institute analyst, said in a research note.

The US Energy Information Administration said its weekly oil and product inventory report would be released Sept. 8, a day later than normal because of the Labor Day holiday.

Energy prices

The October crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 39¢ on Sept. 6 to close at $44.83/bbl. The November contract rose 42¢ to $45.46/bbl.

The natural gas contract for October fell 7.5¢ to at a rounded $2.72/MMbtu. On the spot market, the Henry Hub gas price was $2.82/MMbtu.

Heating oil for October decreased by less than a penny to remain at a rounded $1.41/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending gained a rounded 1.5¢ to a rounded $1.32/gal.

The November Brent crude contract on London’s ICE fell 37¢ to settle at $47.26/bbl and the December contract fell 36¢ to settle at $47.65. The September gas oil contract settled at $408/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes on Sept. 6 was $42.78/bbl, down 79¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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