MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices jump briefly upon inventory drop

Light, sweet crude oil prices briefly jumped to near 5-month highs during the trading session May 6 after a weekly government report showed US oil supplies fell for the first time since last year. Although prices retreated somewhat, the settlement price still marked a modest gain.

The US Energy Information Administration estimated commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased 3.9 million bbl for the week ended May 1 compared with the previous week (OGJ Online, May 6, 2015).

At 487 million bbl, crude oil inventories remain at the highest level for this time of year in at least the last 80 years, EIA said.

Analysts said the inventory drop confirmed expectations that ample oil supplies were bound to begin shrinking because oil and gas companies are slowing drilling and production as a result of low oil prices.

Regarding natural gas supplies in underground storage across the Lower 48, EIA estimated working gas in storage at 1.78 tcf as of May 1, which was a net increase of 76 bcf from the previous week.

Stocks were 742 bcf higher than last year at this time and 67 bcf below the 5-year average of 1.85 tcf, EIA said in its weekly gas storage report.

Energy prices

The June crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange June crude oil contract settled at $60.93/bbl, up 53¢ on May 6 after touching the day’s high of $62.58/bbl. The July contract for NYMEX oil settled at $62/bbl, up 50¢ from the previous closing.

The natural gas contract for June was down less than a penny to remain at a rounded $2.78/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price was $2.75/MMbtu, down 1¢.

Heating oil for June rose less than a penny to a rounded $2.02/gal on May 6. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for June decreased 2.6¢ to a rounded $2.04/gal.

The June ICE contract for Brent crude gained 25¢ to $67.77/bbl, while the July contract gained 20¢ to $68.47/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for June was up $1.50 to $620/tonne.

The average price for the OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes for May 6 was $64.96/bbl, up $1.34.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

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

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