MARKET WATCH: Crude oil futures prices rangebound

US light, sweet crude oil prices remained below $75/bbl Nov. 19 on the New York market, while analysts and traders focused on the upcoming meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the Iran nuclear talks.

US light, sweet crude oil prices remained below $75/bbl Nov. 19 on the New York market, while analysts and traders focused on the upcoming meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the Iran nuclear talks.

A Nov. 24 deadline is looming for negotiations to yield an agreement between Iran and Western powers that would restrict Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons. Separately, OPEC is scheduled to meet in Vienna Nov. 27.

In a research report on the world oil market, Barclays analyst Miswin Mahesh suggested market participants mistakenly have focused only on crude oil export statistics for Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer.

Crude export numbers alone are not an accurate indicator of the kingdom’s petroleum supplies because new Saudi refineries enable more fuel exports.

“In the context of market share, we remind that in the long run, increasing product exports give the kingdom flexibility in managing its petroleum supplies to the rest of the world,” Mahesh wrote.

Iran is talking with US officials and representatives from five other countries regarding Iran’s nuclear abilities. In 2002, Iran accelerated uranium-enrichment efforts to operate power plants although those efforts could contribute to production of nuclear bombs.

US Sec. of State John Kerry was expected to travel to Vienna Nov. 20 to join nuclear negotiations with Iran. Earlier this week, Kerry was in Paris and London for similar meetings with French, British, and Omani officials.

Some analysts suggest sanctions against Iran might have to be lifted before a deal can be reached.

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange December crude oil contract edged down 3¢ on Nov. 19, closing at $74.58/bbl. The January 2015 contract dropped 14¢ to $74.50/bbl.

The natural gas contract for December increased by nearly 13¢ to a rounded $4.37/MMbtu. Freezing temperatures across parts of the US also boosted spot gas prices. The cash gas price at Henry Hub, La., rose to $4.39/MMbtu, up 7¢.

Heating oil for December delivery was down 2¢ to a rounded $2.36/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for December delivery gained less than a penny to remain at a rounded $2.04/gal.

The January 2015 ICE contract for Brent crude oil was down 37¢ to $78.10/bbl. The February 2015 contract dropped 50¢ to $78.57/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for November dropped 50¢, settling at $697.50/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes on Nov. 19 was $74.05/bbl, down 31¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

*Paula Dittrick is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

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