This Week’s Market Buzz

• OPEC talks ended in Vienna with an agreement to extend its production cut deal through the end of 2018. At press time, West Texas Intermediate crude was up 10 cents at $57.40. It has fallen 2.6 percent since last week, pressured by a faster-than-expected restart to the Keystone pipeline and a rise in U.S. stockpiles of gasoline and distillate fuels. Brent crude oil for January delivery was up 45 cents at $63.56 a barrel.

• An online petition in Plum, Pa., is asking residents to appeal to council members to pass a zoning ordinance that prevents oil and gas drilling in rural residential zones, according to Trib Total Media. The petition, created by “Citizens 4 Plum” on, reads: “Unconventional gas drilling will convert most of the Rural Residential zone into an industrial zone which upends the investment-backed expectations of the people who live and moved into Plum Borough.”

• The Senate Committee on Appropriations released the Chairman’s recommendations for the FY18 budgets for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, according to the Industrial Minerals Association – North America (IMA-NA). The bill leans towards funding for programs that encourage infrastructure investment and responsible land development. Of particular note is the preservation of funding for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at FY17 levels and in fact, a slight increase in funding for the Minerals Resources programs. As a member of the Minerals Science and Information Coalition, IMA-NA has been active in fighting for renewed investment in the important work at USGS, which has been steadily decreased for the last 30 years.

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