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By Samuel R. Avro on Dec 4, 2008 with no responses

Energy Stocks, Crude Tumble; Oil Dips Below $44

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Crude oil futures slipped for the fifth consecutive day on the New York Mercantile Exchange, closing below $44 a barrel after losing more than $3 on Thursday.

Veteran energy analysts sat stunned as they watched the contract for January delivery plummet nearly 7 percent to close at $43.67. It’s currently down more than $100 after hitting a record high of over $147 a barrel just four months ago.

Exxon Mobil closed at $76.27, a fall of 3.4 percent. The Philadelphia Oil Index dropped 10 percent on the day.

Shares of Valero Energy slipped almost 9 percent after reports that it had scrapped its plans to sell off two of its refineries which could have raised about $1 billion each. Even the news that European banks cut interest rates –which normally send commodities higher– failed to prevent the recent price drop.

In London, January Brent crude tumbled $3.16, to $42.28 on the ICE Futures exchange.

The current market conditions make it more likely that OPEC will be cutting demand when it next meets in Algeria on Dec. 17. “It is obvious that the market is oversupplied,” said Iran’s OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi. “If you remove oversupply and produce exactly what the market needs, it would be good for everybody.”