MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil price edges up while Brent drops

The December light, sweet crude oil price edged up a few cents on the New York market Oct. 23 to settle under $52/bbl for a third consecutive day while the Brent December crude oil price in London fell. The US benchmark oil price rose in early Oct. 24 trading.

The December light, sweet crude oil price edged up a few cents on the New York market Oct. 23 to settle under $52/bbl for a third consecutive day while the Brent December crude oil price in London fell. The US benchmark oil price rose in early Oct. 24 trading.

Crude prices rose during the past few weeks following a nonbinding independence referendum in Iraq’s northern semiautonomous Kurdish region. The vote in September led to clashes with Iraqi forces retaking the oil-rich Kirkuk area from Kurdish fighters.

Market observers question Kurdistan’s ability to export oil through Turkey, raising concerns about investments from the majors. Iraq’s central government and neighboring Iran and Turkey have imposed travel restrictions to the Kurdish region.

Donald Morton, Herbert J. Sims & Co. senior vice-president, told the Wall Street Journal that there is uncertainty about how much Kurdish oil production has been disrupted.

“There’s anxiety over what is really being pumped,” Morton said. Meanwhile, he said oil prices are “way up at the high end of the trading range.”

Energy prices

The December light, sweet crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged up 6¢ to $51.90/bbl on Oct. 23. The December contract was up 4¢ to $52.08/bbl.

The NYMEX natural gas price for November rose nearly 8¢ to $2.99/MMbtu. The Henry Hub cash gas price gained 17¢ to $2.94/MMbtu.

Heating oil for November fell nearly 2¢ to a rounded $1.78/gal. The NYMEX reformulated gasoline blendstock for November rose less than a penny to a rounded $1.68/gal.

The Brent crude contract for December on London’s ICE declined 38¢ to $57.37/bbl. The January contract was down 31¢ to $57.27/bbl. The gas oil contract for November was $528.25/tonne, down $4.75.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of crudes for Oct. 23 was $55.78/bbl, up 37¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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