MARKET WATCH: Oil prices volatile on Russia, Iran comments

Light, sweet crude oil prices on the New York market for January delivery fell $1.90 on Nov. 25 to settle at about $46/bbl, ending the week down by 30¢. The US benchmark crude price has dropped in 4 of the last 5 weeks. Prices continued the downward trend in early Nov. 28 trading.

Brent crude oil prices on the London market for the January contract fell $1.76 on Nov. 25 to settle near $47.25/bbl. Brent managed to gain 38¢ for the week because of gains made earlier.

Market participants continue to closely monitor oil-supply comments made from members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in advance of the cartel’s Nov. 30 meeting in Vienna.

In September, OPEC proposed capping production at 32.5-33 million b/d. The cartel in October produced a record 33.64 million b/d (OGJ Online, Nov. 11, 2016).

The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 24 that OPEC wants Russia and other non-OPEC producers to cut production by 500,000-600,000 b/d.

On Nov. 25, OPEC officials said Saudi leaders likely would postpone a Nov. 28 meeting with non-OPEC producers pending an OPEC agreement that Saudi officials could take to non-OPEC countries. The WSJ reported Saudi Arabia supports efforts to cut OPEC output to 32.5 million b/d.

Iran said Nov. 26 that it was negotiating an exemption with OPEC from cutting its production, the third-highest in the 14-nation OPEC cartel behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Russia Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Nov. 24 that Moscow officials were talking about a production freeze.

Energy prices

The January crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped $1.90 on Nov. 25 to close at $46.06/bbl. The February contract tumbled $1.86 to $47/bbl.

The natural gas contract for December climbed nearly 6¢ to a rounded $3.08/MMbtu. The Henry Hub spot market for natural gas was closed Nov. 25.

Heating oil for December fell 4.7¢ to a rounded $1.47/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for December dropped nearly 5¢ to a rounded $1.37/gal.

The Brent crude contract for January on London’s ICE dropped $1.76 to $47.24/bbl. The February contract fell $1.78 to $48.24/bbl. The December gas oil contract gained 50¢ to $445.75/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of benchmark crudes on Nov. 25 was down 34¢ to $45.22/bbl.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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