Market watch: Oil prices down slightly awaiting OPEC action

Energy futures closed mixed on the New York Mercantile Exchange Monday with oil prices seemingly on hold while oil producers worldwide contemplate the size of an anticipated production cut. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which meets Friday in Vienna, is expected to cut supply by up to 1 million b/d.

Mar 13th, 2001


By the OGJ Online Staff


HOUSTON, Mar. 13
�Energy futures closed mixed on the New York Mercantile Exchange Monday with oil prices seemingly on hold while oil producers worldwide contemplate the size of an anticipated production cut.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which meets Friday in Vienna, is expected to cut supply by up to 1 million b/d. Analysts say a production cut is obvious although the extent of the cut remains undecided.

Meanwhile, oil ministers from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and non-OPEC producer Mexico met Monday in Riyadh.

The ministers issued a news release say they will work toward a stable and balanced oil market and to ensure reasonable prices for both consumers and producers.

"(The ministers) expressed the need to adjust supply to meet the forecasted demand with the objective of maintaining the price around $25/bbl for OPEC basket," the news release said.

Benchmark US light, sweet crude for April delivery slipped by 1� to $28.00/bbl Monday on the NYMEX as the May contract dropped by 2� to $28.26/bbl. In after-hours electronic trading, the two contracts continued dropping as April sold for $27.88/bbl and May sold for $28.07/bbl.

Home heating oil for April lost 0.25� to close at 73.16�/gal while unleaded gasoline for the same month climbed by 0.49� to close at 89.28�/gal.

Natural gas for April delivery on NYMEX rose by 8.7� to end at $5.16/Mcf. On the International Petroleum Exchange, the April gas contract settled unchanged at the equivalent of $3.26/Mcf.

The April Brent crude contract closed at $25.90/bbl, down by 43�. The day's high was $26.25/bbl and the low was $25.88/bbl.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries basket of seven crudes dropped 21� to $24.38/bbl Monday.

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