SINGAPORE – Oil fell to near $102 a barrel Monday in Asia after negotiators said meetings over Iran's nuclear program last weekend began on a positive note.
Benchmark oil for May delivery was down 78 cents to $102.05 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 81 cents to settle at $102.83 in New York on Friday.
Brent crude for May delivery was down 60 cents at $120.58 per barrel in London.
Iran met Saturday in Istanbul with representatives from the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany in a bid to ease fears that Tehran may seek to build nuclear weapons. Officials said the talks began with a positive tone, in contrast to the previous round 14 months ago, which ended without progress.
The sides agreed to meet again on May 23 in Baghdad for further talks.
Concern that a military strike by Israel and the U.S. against Iran's nuclear facilities would disrupt global crude supplies has helped push crude up from $75 in October. Iranian crude output has fallen in recent months as the U.S. and Europe begin to impose economic sanctions on OPEC's second-biggest producer.
Crude has dropped from $110 last month amid signs global crude supplies are outstripping demand. Rising crude output by Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer, slowing Chinese economic growth and weak demand in developing countries "all continue to lean in favor of lower prices," said energy trader and analyst Ritterbusch and Associates in a report.
In other energy trading, heating oil was down 2.6 cents at $3.15 per gallon and gasoline futures slid 2.7 cents at $3.32 per gallon. Natural gas rose 0.7 cent at $1.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.