Oil prices were stable on Monday, April 23, supported by tightness in the gasoline market in the absence of any market-moving news. Benchmark Brent North Sea crude for June delivery was selling for $26.49 a barrel from $26.35 at the previous close. In New York, light sweet crude June futures dipped three cents to $27.55 a barrel.
"It is very quiet at the moment," said a trader from the floor of the London International Petroleum Exchange. The basket price of seven crudes worldwide used by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to help set output fell to $24.49 on Friday from $24.95 on Thursday, the OPECNA agency reported.
OPEC is targeting an average basket price of $25, within an acceptable range of $22-$28. A leading oil think-tank on Monday urged OPEC to raise output by one million barrels a day (bpd) at its next scheduled meeting in June to avoid a spike in crude prices. "If OPEC is serious about seeking $25 a barrel as an average price, rather than a floor price, it should raise output by 1 million bpd at its June meeting to pre-empt an ultra-tight market towards the end of the year," the Centre for Global Energy Studies said in its Monthly Oil Report.
But it added: "Unfortunately, OPEC is unlikely to act until prices have risen sufficiently and by then it will be too late." The Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) reported on Monday that the US State Department had urged US oil companies to shun Iraqi crude imports that are "tainted" by illegal surcharges paid to Baghdad by middlemen.
"We have a major responsibility to ensure that Iraq's increasingly bold efforts to thwart (UN) Security Council resolutions on its oil sales do not succeed," the US government said in a letter to more than 20 US oil and service companies this month, the respected Cyprus-based newsletter reported. Iraqi exports have been under embargo since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. Iraqi oil revenues are controlled under a UN oil-for-food humanitarian program. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)