MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil for March dips below $53/bbl

Light, sweet crude oil prices settled Jan. 30 below $53/bbl as traders and analysts adjusted to news that the US rig count as of Jan. 27 was at its highest since November 2015 according to weekly statistics kept by Baker Hughes Inc.  

A higher rig count is seen as an indicator of rising US production in the future, which could offset production cuts being made by major producing countries elsewhere this year.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, including Russia, agreed to cut output by almost 1.8 million b/d starting in January. OPEC’s share was of promised cuts was 1.2 million b/d.

Petro-Logistics of Geneva reported OPEC members had cut production by an estimated 900,000 b/d in January, which implied 75% of the OPEC production cut target was being met. Petro-Logistics tracks OPEC production. Meanwhile, OPEC will release its own statistics for January production on Feb. 13.

Trading was mixed on Jan. 31 with the New York Mercantile Exchange oil contract for March falling in early trading while the Brent March contract on the London market was gaining.

The price differential between Brent and US light, sweet crude was at its widest point since December 2015, Commerzbank analysts said Jan. 31 when Brent was about $2.80/bbl higher than light, sweet crude.

Energy prices

The NYMEX crude oil contract for March delivery declined 54¢ on Jan. 30 to $52.62/bbl. The April contract was down 51¢ to $53.24.

US natural gas futures for March delivery fell a rounded 13¢ to a rounded $3.23/MMbtu. Gas spot prices at the Henry Hub in Cushing, Okla., fell 9¢ to $3.20/MMbtu.

Heating oil for February decreased 1¢ to a rounded $1.61/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for February fell 2¢ to a rounded $1.51/gal.

The Brent crude contract for March on London’s ICE dropped 29¢ to $55.23/bbl. The Brent April contract was down 38¢ to $55.32. Gas oil for February closed Jan. 30 at $484.75/tonne, down 50¢.  

The average price for OPEC’s basket of benchmark crudes on Jan. 30 was $52.78/bbl, down 10¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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