By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Nov. 12 -- Crude oil futures prices tumbled more than a dollar to settle at less than $48/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday after a week that saw prices swing up and down frequently.
Traders appear to have switched their attention from fears about tight US heating oil supplies on Wednesday to concerns about global oil supplies on Thursday.
The Nigeria Labour Congress and other groups have called on workers to go on strike on Nov. 16 in protest of rising fuel prices. The unions staged what they called "a warning strike" in mid-October.
After NYMEX trading sessions closed Thursday, it was reported that a Nigerian high court had blocked the upcoming general strike that was intended to shut down oil exports.
The December contract for benchmark light, sweet crudes dropped by $1.44 to $47.42/bbl Thursday on NYMEX. The January crude contract fell by $1.32 to $47.60/bbl. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., tumbled by $1.44 to $47.43/bbl.
Gasoline for December delivery dropped by 4¢ to $1.24/gal Thursday on NYMEX. Heating oil for the same month fell 4¢ to $1.36/gal. The December natural gas contract fell 44¢ to $7.24/Mcf.
Analysts at Enerfax Daily said that the declining gas price Thursday more than wiped out Wednesday's gains "as traders concluded that expected cold weather would be insufficient to buoy prices."
In London, the December contract for North Sea Brent crude fell by $1.73 to $43.02/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange.
The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven benchmark crudes lost 57¢ to $37.16/bbl Thursday.