PRICES COULD BE LOWER
OGJ - Light, sweet crude oil prices for April delivery dropped modestly on Mar. 20, holding above $48/bbl on the New York market in what one analyst calls a possible trend toward a new, lower range of oil prices than the $50-54/bbl range that had existed earlier this year.
"Crude oil is showing the first signs of potentially settling into a new, lower range than that witnessed from December to February," said Ole Hansen, Saxo Bank head of commodity strategy.
He said Libyan oil production is likely to rise again while US crude oil inventories are expected to have increased for the week ended Mar. 17. The US Energy Information Administration will release its weekly inventory report on Mar. 22.
Meanwhile, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers are monitoring progress in making negotiated production cuts to support oil prices. Those producers agreed last year to 6-month production targets, which started in January.
The crude oil contract for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 56¢ on Mar. 20 to $48.22/bbl. The May contract fell by 40¢ to $48.91/bbl.
The natural gas price for April rose 9¢ to a rounded $3.04/MMbtu. The Henry Hub cash gas price closed at $2.92/MMbtu, up 10¢.
Heating oil for April rose by less than 1¢ to a rounded $1.51/gal. Reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenate blending for April also gained nearly a penny to a rounded $1.61/gal.
The Brent crude contract for May on London's ICE decreased 14¢ to $51.62/bbl. The June contract dropped 16¢ to $51.79/bbl. The gas oil contract settled at $458.50/tonne on Mar. 20, up $1.75.
The average price for OPEC's basket of benchmark crudes on Mar. 20 was $49.18/bbl, down 18¢.
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Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) have executed the second and final phase of an Alternative Financing Agreement that would increase crude oil production in the country by about 39,000 barrels per day.
OGJ - Maersk Drilling and Aker BP announced a drilling rig alliance based on a tripartite collaboration model that also includes service provider Halliburton Co.
REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $62.56 per barrel at 0439 GMT, down 16 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $56.59 a barrel, up 4 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last settlement.
Rosneft as a member of Sakhalin-1 Consortium successfully completed drilling of the world's longest well from Orlan platform at Chaivo field in the Sea of Okhotsk. The length of the well with horizontal completion is 15000 m which currently is a world record. This is a supercomplex well with DDI (Directional drilling index) of 8.0 and 14,129 m stepout.