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Crude oil prices were trading slightly down on Friday afternoon, just hours before the weekend and the Christmas holiday, reasonably unaffected by Angola’s decision to quit OPEC.
The price of a barrel of WTI was trading at $74.03, $0.07 down on the day, or a 0.09% dip. Last year, the Friday before Christmas saw WTI trading higher than today, at $79.56 per barrel. Since that time last year, WTI has exchanged hands between $67 and almost $92 per barrel.
Brent crude was trading at $79.23 per barrel on Friday, a $0.16 drop or a 0.20% decrease. That’s down from about $84 per barrel around last Christmas.
Over the past week, WTI has risen from just under $72. Gasoline prices in the United States have also risen over the last week. The current price for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline in the United States is now averaging $3.129 per gallon, according to the latest AAA data. That compares to $3.087 per gallon a week ago. Last year at this time, gasoline prices averaged $3.101 per gallon, just 2.8 cents below today’s average prices. This week saw the first weekly increase in gasoline prices since September.
What doesn’t appear to be affecting oil or gasoline prices is Angola’s decision to quit the OPEC group. Angola and Nigeria were given lower crude oil production quotas as part of the OPEC+ agreement this summer, after the two producers had underperformed and failed to pump to their quotas for years due to a lack of investment in new fields and maturing older oilfields. The two members disagreed with the ruling, which delayed the latest OPEC meeting.
The issue was unresolved as of the latest meeting, and Angola earlier this week decided to part ways with OPEC. Oil prices initially fell, but had steadied out by Friday.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.