The comments from the energy minister for the United Arab Emirates, a member of OPEC, put more downward pressure on crude Tuesday. The comments reaffirmed the position of OPEC’s Arab Gulf members that lowering production would only erode their market share and benefit rivals, such as shale drillers in the U.S.
Last November OPEC decided to keep production levels steady. That decision came despite calls from some from within the 12-member bloc to curb output in an effort to boost prices.
The price of U.S. benchmark crude traded as low at $44.20 a barrel early, the lowest since April 2009. The price has dropped since last June, when it reached $107.
In late morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude was down 34 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $45.72. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell $1.41, or 2.9 percent, to $47.28 a barrel in London.
Oil prices have continued to fall in the new year. Already U.S. crude is down 15 percent for 2015, and Brent is off 18 percent.
Analysts at Ritterbusch and Associates are forecasting that U.S. crude will go as low as $40.25 a barrel. The analysts wrote in a note to investors Tuesday that they see “little support” for oil this week, partly because they expected a report Wednesday to show larger-than-normal increases in oil supplies.
In other futures trading on the NYMEX:
— Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.25 a gallon.
— Heating oil fell 4 cents to $1.61 a gallon.
— Natural gas rose nine cents to $2.88 per 1,000 cubic feet.