MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent crude oil ended week down on OPEC uncertainty

Crude oil prices fell on both the New York and London markets on Nov. 4, marking overall weekly declines of about $5/bbl each. Both benchmarks dropped on escalating doubts that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will be able to agree on how to cut crude oil production.

But oil prices got support after OPEC Sec.-Gen. Mohammed Barkindo told the Wall Street Journal in a Nov. 4 interview that OPEC members have agreed to use independent production data to calculate proposed production quotas.

OPEC technical experts recently met to discuss how to prepare for a Nov. 30 meeting in Vienna. Cartel members agreed in September to cut as much as 2% of production to reduce world crude oil oversupply.

An agreement on individual member production quotas has yet to be worked out. Oil officials from Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Nigeria all have said their countries should be exempted from cutting production. Iraq and Iran officials suggested they might be willing to hold production steady.

Meanwhile, the US Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its November Short-Term Energy Outlook on Nov. 8, which is also the nation’s Election Day. Oil prices rose in early New York trading on Nov. 7.

Energy prices

The December crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 59¢ on Nov. 4 to close at $44.07/bbl. The January contract fell 60¢ to $44.65/bbl.

The natural gas contract for December edged down a fraction of a penny to remain at a rounded $2.77/MMbtu. On the spot market, the Henry Hub gas price fell 17¢ to $2.19/MMbtu.

Heating oil for December fell nearly 3¢ to $1.43/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for December dropped 4.6¢ to a rounded $1.38/gal.

The January Brent crude contract on London’s ICE was down 77¢ to settle at $45.68/bbl. The Brent contract for February was down 67¢ to $46.55/bbl. The November gas oil contract fell $4.75 to $417.75/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of benchmark crudes on Nov. 4 was $41.87/bbl, down 78¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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