Market watch: NYMEX mixed; OPEC report steadies London trading

Energy futures prices closed mixed in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday. An Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries report helped shape the crude oil market in London.

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, June 22 -- Energy futures prices closed mixed in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday.

The August contract for light, sweet crude, the American benchmark, climbed 8¢ to settle at $26.56/bbl, while the September contract stood at $26.56, down by 2¢. In after-hours electronic access trading, the August contract was fetching $26.73/bbl, and the September contract $26.60.

Refined petroleum products also ended mixed, with July home heating oil rising by 0.09¢ to rest at 74.24¢/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month declined by 1.94¢ to rest at 77.09¢.

NYMEX natural gas for July delivery advanced by 1.3¢ to end at $3.747/Mcf.

Traders took a pause after the selloff of the last couple of sessions.

A statement by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Sec. Gen. Alí Rodríguez Araque helped stop the price slide.

He said that if the market situation remained the same, the organization was not expected to increase crude production at next month's ministerial meeting.

Meanwhile, in London Thursday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures ended the day slightly higher on the International Petroleum Exchange, above $26/bbl, but down from the day's highs.

Brokers said Brent's gains were largely technical, a move necessary because prices had fallen so sharply, but the overall tone remained bearish.

Futures were likely to stabilize at current levels, they said, but if next week's US oil stocks figures showed further rises, futures would probably test support at $26 and break it.

On Thursday, IPE August Brent futures settled at $26.30/bbl, up by 21¢ from the previous close. The day's high was $26.47 and the low $25.87.

Natural gas futures on the IPE fell 8.8¢ to close at the equivalent of $2.57/Mcf Thursday.

The OPEC basket of seven crudes stood at $25.06/bbl Thursday, up from $25.17 the previous day.

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