MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil settles above $50/bbl

US light, sweet crude oil gained moderately to settle above $50/bbl for both the November and December contracts on the New York market on Oct. 6. It was the first time since June that the US front-month benchmark oil contract broke through $50/bbl.

Analysts said light, sweet crude prices have risen more than 13% since Sept. 28, which is when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries met in Algeria. That meeting ended with OPEC saying it is willing to consider limiting production. OPEC meets again in Vienna in November.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country should consider joining OPEC’s efforts to limit production and help bolster prices.

OPEC Sec.-Gen. Mohammad Senusi Barkindo reportedly is planning to meet Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak next week in Istanbul. They are to talk on the sidelines of an energy summit, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Barkindo also is expected to meet Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih while in Istanbul, the WSJ said. Saudi Arabia pumped near-record levels at 10.6 million b/d in August.

Separately, Venezuela Oil Minister Eulogio de Pino said OPEC was talking with Oman and Azerbaijan, both non-OPEC members as is Russia.

Separately, US natural gas levels in underground storage across the Lower 48 increased 80 bcf for the week ended Sept. 30, the US Energy Information Administration reported. The addition was larger than most analysts had expected.

Energy prices

The November crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 61¢ on Oct. 6 to close at $50.44/bbl. The December contract was up 60¢ to $50.98/bbl.

The natural gas contract for November edged up less than a penny to a rounded $3.05/MMbtu. On the spot market, the Henry Hub gas price rose 13¢ to $2.99/MMbtu.

Heating oil for November rose 1¢ to a rounded $1.60/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for November edged up less than a penny to a rounded $1.50/gal.

The December Brent crude contract on London’s ICE increased 65¢ to settle at $52.51/bbl, and the January contract rose 66¢ to settle at $53.11/bbl. The October gas oil contract settled at $468.50/tonne, up $3.25.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of benchmark crudes on Oct. 6 was $47.84/bbl, up 10¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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