|HOUSTON, Nov. 28
-- Energy futures prices improved in trading on the New York Mercantile
|The January contract for light, sweet crude
rose 79¢ to rest at $19.48/bbl, while the February contract rose 76¢ to
close at $19.64/bbl. In after-hours electronic access trading in New York
today, the January contract was getting $19.40/bbl, and the February
contract was getting $19.48 for the February contract.
|Refined petroleum products also closed
higher, with December home heating oil gaining 1.77¢ to finish at
53.94¢/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month increased by 1.64¢ to
settle at 53.81¢/gal.
|NYMEX natural gas for December delivery fell
90¢ to $2.606/Mcf.
|Meanwhile, in London Tuesday, North Sea Brent
crude oil futures also rose in late trading on the International Petroleum
|Brokers said the market was nervous about the
renewal of Iraq's United Nations-administered oil-for-aid program, the
latest phase of which expires at the end of this week. In July, Iraq, miffed
about US and UK attempts to alter the program terms, suspended exports for a
|On Tuesday, IPE January Brent settled at
$19.02/bbl, up by 66¢ from the previous close. The day's high was $19.22 and
the low $18.15.
|Also on the IPE, the December contract for
natural gas rose 1.7¢ to close at the equivalent of $3.56/Mcf.
|The Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries' basket of seven crudes stood at $17.60/bbl Tuesday, compared with
$17.35 the previous day.
|Though in the short term worries about Iraq's
2 million b/d of production may nudge prices upward, in the long term excess
production could cause prices to drop sharply, said OPEC Conference Pres.
|The Algerian energy and mines minister said
prices could fall below $10/bbl, unless a production cut agreement was
worked out with non-OPEC producers.
|He stressed that in the absence of such an
agreement, conditions in the international oil market would worsen, which
would lead to very low oil prices, especially during the second quarter of
|But he insisted that OPEC would not reduce
its production unless non-OPEC producers followed suit.