MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil climbs modestly on reduced storage concerns

Crude oil prices for May delivery climbed modestly on the New York market Apr. 20, which analysts attributed to reports of reduced concerns for now about high US oil storage levels. The Brent crude oil price settled Apr. 20 on the London market unchanged from the Apr. 17 price.

Genscape Inc. told clients on Apr. 20 that it estimated the crude inventory in Cushing, Okla., rose by less than 500,000 bbl for the week ended Apr. 17, and Genscape also noted that Cushing storage levels were falling during the second half of last week.

The US Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly storage report for crude oil and products on Apr. 22.

On the international oil market, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said he expects the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will “pave the ground for an increase of Iran’s oil production that will reach global markets when sanctions are lifted.”

Iran hopes to boost its crude exports by as much as 1 million b/d if it finalizes a nuclear agreement about its nuclear program with six other countries, including the US, by June 30.

Separately, US Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told attendees on Apr. 20 at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston that she plans to introduce legislation this year that would lift the ban on US oil exports, calling them “a sanction against ourselves.”

ConocoPhillips Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ryan Lance said he supports Murkowski’s efforts to repeal the export ban.

“I’m optimistic we can get something done in 2015,” to lift the decades-old export ban, Lance told reporters during a news conference at CERAWeek. “The ban on exports is anticonsumer. I recognize it’s a tough hill to climb, but we are up for the challenge.”

Energy prices

The New York Mercantile Exchange May crude oil contract gained 64¢ on Apr. 20 to $56.38/bbl. The front-month contract expires Apr. 21 so price jumps could prove volatile Apr. 21, traders said. Meanwhile, the June contract closed Apr. 20 up 56¢ to $57.88/bbl.

The natural gas contract for May declined 98¢ to $2.54/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price on Apr. 20 declined 10¢ to $2.54/MMbtu.

Heating oil for May delivery dropped a fraction of a cent to remain at a rounded $1.88/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for May was up a fraction of a penny to remain at a rounded $1.93/gal.

The June ICE contract for Brent crude held steady at $63.45/bbl, while the July contract was down 1¢ to $64.23/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for May fell $3.75 to $574/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes was $59.50/bbl on Apr. 20, down 2¢.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

*Paula Dittrick is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

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