Market watch: Energy futures strengthen in market correction

Energy futures prices strengthened Thursday in a technical correction of international markets after the previous session�s plunge. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to agree to production cuts of 5000,000-1 million b/d at their meeting today in Vienna.


By the OGJ Online Staff


HOUSTON, Mar. 16
�Energy futures prices strengthened Thursday in a technical correction of international markets after the previous session�s plunge.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to agree to production cuts of 5000,000-1 million b/d at their meeting today in Vienna.

Mohammed Al-Ramahi, oil minister of Oman, a non-member, said Thursday that OPEC should establish a strategy that will maintain oil prices in the range of $22-$25/bbl through the second half of this year, to avoid another price collapse similar to 1998. He said data shows a current global oversupply of 1-2 million b/d of oil.

The April contract for benchmark US sweet, light crudes gained 14� to $26.55/bbl Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the May contract rose 20� to $26.82/bbl. In after-hours electronic trading, however, both contracts dipped to $26.45/bbl and $26.77/bbl, respectively.

Home heating oil for April delivery was up 0.26� to 70.65�/gal. Unleaded gasoline for the same month inched up 0.09� to 86.79�/gal. The April natural gas contract added 1.6� to $4.93/Mcf.

In London, the expiring April contract for North Sea Brent was up 27� to $24.20/bbl on the International Petroleum Exchange. The new near-month May contract gained 19� to $25.03/bbl. The April natural gas contract was unchanged at the equivalent of $3.27/Mcf on the IPE.

The average price for OPEC�s basket of seven crudes fell 78� to $22.77/bbl Thursday.

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