Tuesday, May 25, 2010

OPEC to Summon FG, Others to Emergency Meeting - As Oil Crashes to 10-Month Low


Lagos — Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at the weekend said it would "has no choice but to summon members to an emergency extraordinary meeting," if oil continues with its slide.

Oil prices had on Wednesday crashed to the lowest in 2010, trading for $68 a barrel and President of OPEC, Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos, oil minister of Angola, said OPEC would need to hold an extraordinary meeting if prices continued to fall.

"As crude oil prices breached the $70 per barrel area, it is likely that OPEC will have to discuss the level of production quotas in order to support crude oil prices in the near term," said an energy report from Sucden Financial in London.

The commodity extended losses to an eight-month low as mixed crude supply figures by the United States, world biggest oil consumer, failed to stem a two week sell-off.

Nigeria, world's eighth biggest oil exporter, on Thursday recorded a loss of $17 on each of its 1.8 million barrels daily crude export, as the commodity plunged from $87 a barrel it traded earlier this month.

Two weeks ago, the country made an estimated sum of $156.6 million from the trading of its 1.8 million barrels traded, when crude sold for $87 a barrel.

The prices of oil, Nigeria's biggest revenue earner, on Thursday traded below $70 a barrel, a loss of $30.6 million to Nigeria, whose quota by OPEC remains at 1.8 mbpd.

The country however recorded profits as the commodity still traded above its oil benchmark in the 2010 budget.

The commodity, however, halted a 16-day fall on Thursday as protests in Greece renewed market concerns about Europe's debt crisis and investors awaited new data on the U.S. economy.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for June delivery was down 57 cents to $69.30 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 46 cents to settle at $69.87 on Wednesday after dropping earlier in the session to $67.90, the lowest since September.

Crude has plunged from $87 a barrel earlier this month as a debt crisis in Europe has hammered the euro and threatens to undermine economic growth.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for June delivery was down $1.23 to $68.18 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 54 cents to settle at $69.41 on Tuesday.

Oil has plunged more than 20 percent from $87.15 a barrel on May 3 on investor concern that efforts to contain Europe's debt crisis could fail and deep government spending cuts will hurt economic growth and oil demand.

Oil inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday was mixed. Crude and distillate supplies fell while gasoline stocks rose. Supplies at the key storage terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma, rose to a fresh record high.

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration announces its weekly inventory data report - the market benchmark - later Wednesday.

"The recent selling pressure that has gripped the oil market continues to hinge on factors external to oil-specific fundamental developments," Barclays Capital said in a report. "Market perceptions over possible developments of the sovereign debt crisis are set to remain an important pricing factor."

Traders are closely watching the euro since oil becomes more expensive for investors holding the European currency as the U.S. dollar strengthens.

In London, Brent crude July contact was down 81 cents to $72.88 on the ICE futures exchange.

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