U.S. ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION
Crude Oil Price
On February 2, Brent settled at $112.07 per barrel, unchanged from its closing price on January 3, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled at $96.36 per barrel, a decrease of $6.30 per barrel over the same time period. Both Brent and WTI traded in narrow ranges of $4 and $7 per barrel, respectively, over the past month, continuing the trend of crude oil price stability seen since November 2011 (Figure 1). As a percentage of the average price, the trading range for Brent in January was the smallest in over 10 years.
There have been several developments related to the crude oil market over the last month but none have provided new direction to prices. A dispute over oil transportation and transfer fees between South Sudan and its northern neighbor, Sudan, have resulted in reports that South Sudan has shut in its production of about 350,000 barrels per day. Additionally, the European Union agreed last week to impose a ban of all oil imports from Iran into its member countries beginning in July of this year, which could lead to a reallocation of global crude oil flows. Lastly, negotiations for a voluntary write‐down of Greek debt are continuing between the government and its bondholders, a reminder of continuing financial challenges impacting economies within the Euro zone, which still have the potential to affect near‐term economic growth prospects and demand for petroleum products.