HOUSTON, Jan. 16 -- Energy prices were mixed and little changed in world markets Jan. 13, despite escalating concerns over civil unrest in Nigeria and Iran's nuclear program.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC evacuated staff from facilities attacked by insurgents in the Niger River delta and declared force majeure on 106,000 b/d of Nigerian crude shut in at the Forcados oil export terminal following an explosion Jan. 11 on the Trans Ramos pipeline. Nigeria was the fourth-largest supplier of crude to the US in October.
Meanwhile, representatives from France, China, Russia, the UK, and the US were scheduled to meet Jan. 16 in London to decide whether to call an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations, for possible action against Iran over what are feared to be its efforts to develop a nuclear weapons program.
Iran, the world's fourth largest producer of crude behind the US, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, recently warned that crude prices could escalate if it becomes further subject to economic sanctions.
The February contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes dipped by 2¢ to $63.92/bbl Jan. 13 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The March contract increased by 9¢ to $64.58/bbl, however. On the US spot market, West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Okla., was down by 2¢ to $63.93/bbl. Gasoline for February delivery gained 1.26¢ to $1.73/gal. Heating oil for the same month was up by 0.37¢ to $1.72/gal. The February natural gas contract fell again, by 15.2¢ to $8.79/MMbtu.
In London, the February contract for North Sea Brent crude lost 36¢ to $62.26/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange. Gas oil for the same month dropped $14.75 to $521.75/tonne.
The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of 11 benchmark crudes gained 55¢ to $57.16/bbl on Jan. 13.
Contact Sam Fletcher at [email protected].