MARKET WATCH: Oil price drop partially erases previous gains

Light, sweet crude for February delivery settled down by more than $1.60/bbl on the New York market Dec. 27 while Brent crude for February dropped more than $2/bbl in London.

Analysts attributed volatile oil prices to uncertainty about the world economic outlook amid thin holiday trading volumes.

“It remains difficult to hold strong views on markets when so many participants are on holiday and equity markets so volatile,” said Olivier Jakob, head of consulting firm Petromatrix.

Moty Kuperberg director of Oil & Gas Dynamic Shipping in Haifa, Israel, said no oil market fundamental reason existed to drive Brent crude prices above $75/bbl earlier this year.

In an e-mail to OGJ, Kuperberg said he believes the oil-price range “that gives comfort” to most producers and consumers alike appears to be within $60-70/bbl. “Both parties need certain stability and reliability of supply and prices, which the market should provide and can provide.”

He attributed recent crude price settlements of less than $50/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange to US stock market volatility and concerns about a possibly slowing world economy.

For 2019 oil prices, Kuperberg forecast a range of $57-75/bbl with $57/bbl being the low for light, sweet crude and $75/bbl being the high for Brent crude.

Energy prices

The February light, sweet crude contract on NYMEX fell $1.61 to close at $44.61/bbl on Dec. 27 while the March contract dropped $1.64 to close at $44.90/bbl.

NYMEX natural gas futures for January climbed nearly 10¢ to close at $3.64/MMbtu on Dec. 27.

Ultralow-sulfur diesel for January fell 5¢ to a rounded $1.68/gal. The NYMEX reformulated gasoline blendstock for January dropped by nearly 3¢ to $1.30/gal.

Brent crude oil for February declined $2.31 to $52.16/bbl on London’s International Commodity Exchange. The Brent contract for March fell $2.03 to $52.73/bbl.

The gas oil contract for January was $504.50/tonne on Dec. 27, up 25¢.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of crudes was unavailable for Dec. 27.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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