MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices edge up on tropical storm threat in gulf

Crude oil futures for July delivery dropped modestly on the New York market June 15 to remain below $60/bbl, but prices were edging up again in early trading June 16 as Tropical Storm Bill developed in the Gulf of Mexico and headed toward Texas.

The storm could disrupt operations at offshore drilling platforms and cause flooding and wind problems at refineries in Texas. TS Bill was expected to make landfall on June 16.

Traffic in the Houston Ship Channel was stopped June 15 because of concerns about high seas, port officials said. Refineries and petrochemical plants are located along or near the ship channel.

Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC evacuated nonessential workers from platforms, the companies said. LyondellBasell said it deployed sandbags at its refining and chemical plants. ConocoPhillips said it monitored TS Bill but as of early June 16 all of the company’s offshore and onshore operations were running normally.

Regarding international oil markets, Platts said June 15 that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, raised its May output to 31.1 million b/d, which was above its 30 million b/d quota. It was the highest level of output from the cartel since October 2012.

Talks have bogged down between Greece and its creditors, which analysts said was a concern for the international oil market if Greece were to default on its debt and possibly leave the Eurozone.

Energy prices

The July crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 44¢ on June 15 to settle at $59.52/bbl. The August contract was down 40¢ to settle at $60/bbl.

The natural gas contract for July was up nearly 14¢ to a rounded $2.89/MMbtu. The Henry Hub, La., gas price rose 10¢ to $2.86/MMbtu.

Heating oil for July was down a rounded 2¢ to a rounded $1.87/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for July dropped 2¢ to a rounded $2.09/gal.

The July ICE contract for Brent crude was down $1.26 to $62.61/bbl while the August contract dropped 69¢ to $63.95/bbl. The ICE gas oil contract for July was down $9.25 to $576/tonne.

The average price for OPEC’s basket of 12 benchmark crudes for June 15 was $60.17/bbl, down $1.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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

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