MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent crude oil prices drop on OPEC concerns

Light, sweet crude oil prices dropped on the New York market Oct. 24 as did Brent crude oil prices on the London market on growing concerns about whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will be able to reach agreement on a proposed production cut.

Iraq officials recently said Iraq was unwilling to cut its production. Russia, a non-OPEC producer, has been talking with OPEC about production levels pending the Nov. 30 OPEC meeting in Vienna. In September, Russian oil output was estimated at 11.1 million b/d.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak met with Qatar oil officials and OPEC representatives. Novak was in Vienna on Oct. 24 after visiting with Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih during the weekend. Novak said sharp crude price drops threaten to trigger a future oil supply deficit.

“At best, Russia is prepared to freeze its oil production at a non-specified level. Iraq is demanding that it be exempted from any production cuts, and the same applies to Libya, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Iran,” Commerzbank analysts said in a note.

Energy prices

The December crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 33¢ on Oct. 24 to close at $50.52/bbl. The January contract was down 27¢ to $51.16/bbl.

The natural gas contract for November fell 16¢ to a rounded $2.83/MMbtu. On the spot market, the Henry Hub gas price declined 12¢ to $2.75/MMbtu.

Heating oil for November gained less than a penny to a rounded $1.58/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for November dropped 2.7¢ to a rounded $1.50/gal.

The December Brent crude contract on London’s ICE declined 32¢ to settle at $51.46/bbl, and the January contract decreased 26¢ to settle at $52.43/bbl. The November gas oil contract settled at $464.25/tonne, down 25¢.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of benchmark crudes on Oct. 24 was $48.15/bbl, up 7¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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