Oil futures ticked lower Friday as investors awaited a pair of events: a Sunday meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, and the Monday kickoff of European Union ban on Russian crude imports.
West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery
was flat at $81.22 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
February Brent crude
the global benchmark, was up 1 cent at $86.89 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Back on Nymex, January gasoline
fell 0.2% to $2.338 a gallon, while January heating oil
was up 0.9% at $3.293 a gallon.
January natural gas
was down 1.3% at $6.648 per million British thermal units.
Oil is on track for a weekly gain, buoyed in part by signs China is beginning to ease strict COVID curbs.
Meanwhile, OPEC+ meets Sunday. Many analysts look for the group to hold production steady amid uncertainty over how a EU ban on vessel-borne Russian crude that begins Monday will affect the market.
“In view of the many uncertainties on the market, however, it is unlikely to implement any further measures this Sunday. After all, the EU’s oil embargo on (seaborne) crude oil from Russia will come into force on Monday,” said Barbara Lambrecht, commodity analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.
It’s also unclear what effect a separate price cap on Russian oil will have. European Union officials have proposed a cap of $60 a barrel.
See: EU edges closer to imposing $60-a-barrel cap on Russian oil prices