Oil prices fall flat.
Global oil prices continue to hover at a 22-month low, right around $52 per barrel, on economic concerns and falling demand.
As oil prices stall, Russia has joined the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in discussing production cuts as a possible way to push oil prices higher.
Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko told RosBusinessConsulting he thinks global oil production will fall if prices remain at the current level. Shmatko said OPEC and other oil producers are outraged at global oil prices and now production profitability is close to zero.
Shmatko also agreed with others as he said he thought a fair oil market price would be just above $60 per barrel. Current market conditions are not pointing to an increase in demand or price anytime soon, and so a reduction in global oil output is likely, Shmatko said.
Previously, Russian leaders said they would like to move to take more control over oil prices.
Shmatko said he has been at some of OPEC's talks, including one with OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla el-Badri on Nov. 18, and there is another one planned for December.
Oil tanker attack raises oil prices.
Oil prices were temporarily pushed up after a band of Somali pirates attacked a Saudi oil tanker in the Arabian Sea, the U.K. Times reported.
The Saudi royal family has now condemned the pirates as terrorists after they lost $100 million worth of oil from the Sirius Star.
The tanker was carrying 2 million barrels of oil, which is a quarter of the Kingdom's daily output, when it was captured 450 miles off the coast of Kenya Sunday.
The 25-member, multinational crew is being held hostage but is reportedly safe.
Oil prices did not stay up for very long, falling again on concern over the economy and falling demand.
New oil shale opens in the United States.
The federal government opened tens of thousands of acres in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming to oil-shale extraction Monday, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.
Approval from the Interior Department was the final step needed before ready and willing companies can go in and produce oil.
The department believes there could be up to about 800 billion barrels of synthetic oil available for recovery in the rock formations in the western United States.
"That is enough to meet U.S. demand for oil at the current consumption rate for 110 years," said Stephen Allred, assistant secretary for land and minerals management.
The rules for commercial oil-shale leases are now finalized, but it will likely still be between five and 10 years before any oil makes its way to consumers.
The leases also will still be subject to National Environmental Protection Act analysis and local and state approvals. The rules set the royalty rate for oil shale at 5 percent.
The oil is removed from the rock formations by super-heating, and there are many environmentalists who are concerned over the damage that could be caused.
Supporters, however, say the royalties will go mostly to states and will provide a great deal of much-needed revenue.
Closing oil prices, Nov. 18, 3 p.m., London
Brent Crude oil: $51.66
West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $56.86